This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 13, 2002

U.S. Navy Dedicates a 750-Kilowatt Solar Power System

The U.S. Navy announced on November 8th that it has installed the largest federal solar power system to date at Naval Base Coronado, located in San Diego, California. The 750-kilowatt system generates enough electricity during the day to power 935 homes. The photovoltaic panels also form a half-mile-long covered parking structure in the naval base's parking lot, providing shading for more than 400 vehicles. The solar panels actually have a peak capacity of 924 kilowatts, but the system that connects the panels to the electrical grid will produce only 750 kilowatts. That system converts the direct current output from the panels into three-phase, 12-kilovolt power that is fed into the Navy's electrical distribution system.

The system is expected to provide three percent of the base's peak summer electrical load. Installed through an Energy Savings Performance Contract with NORESCO, an energy services company, and designed, manufactured, and installed by PowerLight Corporation, the system is expected to save more than $288,000 in energy costs each year. See the press release and the accompanying fact sheet (PDF 174 KB) on the Navy Region Southwest Web site. Download Acrobat Reader.

In another part of San Diego County, much smaller solar power systems are providing a useful service to much different facilities: the learning centers at three Indian reservations. The Manzanita and La Posta bands of Mission Indians and the Campo Band of Kumeyaay Indians now have high-speed Internet access, thanks to a collaboration among San Diego State University's Mount Laguna Observatory, the Tribal Digital Village Network, and the High-Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN), an interdisciplinary project of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). A new microwave antenna at the observatory provides a connection between the UCSD broadband system and three solar-powered relays, which provide the final link to learning centers on each reservation. Each relay station is powered by a 320-watt solar power system with battery backup. See the HPWREN press release.

The installation brings the total number of Internet-connected reservations in San Diego County to 10. The county has 18 small Indian reservations, the most of any county in the United States. For more information, see the University of San Diego Web site.