Officials unveiled 90 acres of solar panels at the Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) in Eastaboga, Alabama on April 24. Paid for and owned by Alabama Power, the $25 million project represents the first phase in the U.S. Army’s plan to make the depot more energy efficient and independent, according to a report by The Anniston Star.
A part of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive and Armaments Command, the military base is the only Army depot capable of performing maintenance on both heavy and light-tracked combat vehicles and their components. Personnel at the depot also perform maintenance on individual and crew-served weapons; as well as land combat missiles and small arms. In addition, the facility stores of conventional ammunition and missiles, as well as 7 percent of the nation’s chemical munitions stockpile.
The 87,000 solar panels that make up the total array currently are in a testing phase, collecting energy for Alabama Power’s electricity grid. In May, officials expect to switch the panels to full capacity and generate 7 MW of electricity — enough to power around 1,100 homes a year. The power will be sent to Alabama Power’s electricity grid and then sold to the depot and other customers.
According to Stars & Stripes, the Anniston Army Depot’s goal is to derive 25 percent of the power at its installations from alternative energy sources by 2025.
“This project helps sustain the mission and secure the future for the Army,” said Michael McGhee, executive director of the Army Office of Energy Initiatives, at a ribbon-cutting event for the solar platform.
“This will assist in sustaining the depot’s vital mission and improve its energy security and dependency,” McGhee said.
Alabama Power this week unveiled a similar project at Fort Rucker in Dale County, John Kelley, director of Forecast and Resource Planning for Alabama Power, told the local news outlet. “Our approach is we are investing, partnering and doing solar when it works out with our customers and is cost effective and is something they want to pursue,” Kelley said.
Currently, Alabama ranks 28th among the states in solar capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Also, 0.02 percent of Alabama’s electricity is generated by solar, according to the association.