FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) – A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the U.S. Army's largest renewable energy solar project in Georgia.
Fort Benning, along with the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives, Georgia Power and the General Services Administration conducted the ceremony on April 17 at 9 a.m. near Fort Benning's Uchee Creek Campground and Marina.
This large solar project will provide a 30-megawatt, alternating current and solar photovoltaic array on the install. The installation will be financed, designed, installed, owned and operated by Georgia Power.
Once it is completed the new solar park will provide around 20 percent of peak electrical demand for the installation. The operation is scheduled to begin in 2016 and it will cover about 200 acres and will feature 136,900 4-by-6 foot panels.
This project is a part of a U.S. Army commitment to the President to secure one gigawatt of renewable energy and sustainability at U.S. Army installations by 2025.
The project was unanimously approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission on Oct. 23, and construction is taking place on three military installations: Fort Benning, Fort Gordon and Fort Stewart.
"These facilities will further promote the advance of solar energy in Georgia while at the same time meeting the military's renewable energy goals," said Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald during a news conference at the State Capitol.
"The military continues to lead the way in the development of renewable energy," said Commissioner Tim Echols. "I hope our action today will help these bases remain a permanent fixture in their respective regions of the state."
Georgia Power filed its plan for these facilities on May 15, 2014 as part of its Renewable Action Plan under the 2007 Integrated Resources Plan (IRP). The Commission's order in the 2007 IRP required any projects to be equal to or less than the Company's avoided costs meaning no upward pressure on rates.
According to the Company's filing, these projects will contribute towards the Army's mandates regarding renewable energy and energy security and represent a significant investment in Georgia Army bases.
Additional information can be found on the Commission website,