U.S. Navy to Develop Solar+Battery at Pacific Missile Range Facility

03The U.S. Navy plans to develop a 44-MW solar farm and battery energy storage system on nearly 200 acres at the 2,134-acre Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands on the west side of the island of Kauai, according to a February 9 report by Pacific Business News.

The Navy plans to lease up to 181 acres of Department of Defense land to a developer for 40 years for the construction, operation, and decommissioning of the project, according to its Draft Environmental Assessment, formally released last month.

In the plan, the Navy notes that the purpose of the platform “is to provide photovoltaic and battery energy storage system facilities to improve Navy energy security and reduce the demand for energy produced by non-renewable resources.”

The solar photovoltaic system would generate power and feed electricity into the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s grid for use by the public and military, PBN said. New electrical transmission lines would be installed either overhead or underground to connect the proposed project to the existing KIUC transmission line along Kaumualii Highway.

The battery storage system would be mainly used to store solar energy produced by the PV system during the day and then discharge the energy to the grid at night.

The project would be accomplished in phases –with the first phase involving 21 MW on 87 acres; and the second phase encompassing 23 MW on 94 acres, the news outlet reported.

When completed, the project could make PMRF a net-zero energy facility. Construction is expected to start no sooner than year-end 2017.

This represents the third such project in the works on Kauai.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative – a member-owned utility serving 33,000 electric accounts–   also sealed a power purchase agreement with AES Distributed Energy, a subsidiary of AES) on January 10 for a 28-MW solar photovoltaic energy plant, along with a 20-MW, five-hour duration energy storage system on the island’s South Shore.

PBN noted that, in addition, the project would join a similar initiative in the works by Tesla, which would be developed on 50 acres of land owned by Grove Farm near KIUC’s Kapaia power plant north of Lihue.

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