The project was funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). It originated from requirements that federal government facilities use increasing amounts of renewable energy as well as USAFA’s Net Zero Initiative, which set a goal for the Academy to generate 100 percent of the electricity it needs from on-base renewable energy sources. SunPower and USAFA will each own 50 percent of the renewable energy credits (RECs) and environmental benefits associated with the system.
"The SunPower solar system at the Air Force Academy has benefited the local economy, and is reducing the demand for fossil fuels and improving air quality in our community," said Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte. "For the next 30 years or more, we are confident the system will dependably generate clean, renewable solar power to meet forecasted output."
The system uses high-efficiency SunPower solar panels with the SunPower™ T0 Tracker system. The Tracker follows the sun’s movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements. The system has been designed to meet USAFA’s stringent engineering design standards.
"Solar power provides a secure, independent power source in the U.S.," said Jim Pape, president of SunPower’s residential and commercial business group. "The impact of SunPower’s high efficiency, tracking technology delivers the best economics using the least amount of land possible. We congratulate Springs Utilities on their leadership and the Air Force Academy on its commitment to net zero energy."
According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, the system at the USAFA will avoid more than 9,400 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, the equivalent of removing 40,900 cars from Colorado’s highways over 25 years.
SunPower has worked with federal agencies since 1999, and has more than 40 megawatts of solar power systems installed or under contract at government facilities, including systems at Nellis Air Force Base and the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Colorado Springs Utilities provides electricity, natural gas, water and wastewater services to the Pikes Peak region. The municipally-owned utility is committed to protecting the environment while providing reliable and affordable utility services.
SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB) designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company’s quarter century of experience and guaranteed performance to provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar system. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.