- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP) - The federal government, a utility and a German company announced Friday they’re teaming up to provide Fort Huachuca with a large solar array that will supply the Army base in southeastern Arizona with a quarter of its electricity needs.

Army Assistant Secretary Katherine Hammack said the solar array at the installation in Sierra Vista will be the largest on a U.S. military installation.

The 155-acre project is a joint effort between the Army, the federal General Services Administration, Tucson Electronic Power and developer E.ON Climate and Renewables, which is headquartered in Essen, Germany.

According to the announcement about the project, Tucson Electric Power will fund, own, maintain and operate the array, and contract with E.ON for the design, engineering, procurement and construction.

The announcement was keyed to a ceremonial groundbreaking, with solar operations expected to start by late 2014, according to the GSA, an agency that serves as landlord for much of the federal government.

Fort Huachuca, first established as a U.S. Calvary post during the Indian Wars in the late 19th century, is the home of several intelligence and communications commands and units.

The new solar array is expected to produce about 18 megawatts, which TEP said is equivalent to the annual electric needs of approximately 3,100 homes.

“We’re very proud to provide Fort Huachuca with a cost-effective solar power resource that will contribute to the base’s long-term energy security,” said David Hutchens, president and chief operating officer of TEP and its parent company, UNS Energy Corp.

Once in operation,the array will offset more than 58,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year while reducing other emissions associated with generating an equivalent amount of power with fossil fuels, TEP said.

The system will be connected to an existing substation and TEP said any excess energy the system generates will flow back into the grid for use by other customers.

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