United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the partial guarantee of a $344 million loan for the SolarStrong Project, which is expected to be a record expansion of America’s residential rooftop solar power. Through the SolarStrong Project, SolarCity Corporation will install, own, and operate up to 160,000 rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar systems on more than 100 military bases across 33 states.
Secretary Chu notes, “This is the largest domestic residential rooftop solar project in history. This groundbreaking project is expected to create hundreds of jobs for Americans and provide clean, renewable power to our military families. It can also be a model for other large-scale rooftop solar projects that help America regain its lead in the solar industry.”
The project, which could create as much as 371 megawatts of new solar capacity, includes the installation of residential rooftop PV systems on existing privatized military family residences and other privatized buildings, such as community centers, administrative offices, maintenance buildings and storage warehouses. In addition to providing low-cost, renewable electricity, the project will also reduce more than 250,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.
The SolarStrong Project also enables the Department of Defense (DOD), the single-largest energy consumer in the United States, to satisfy its energy needs from domestic sources that are renewable and independent from the utility grid, at no cost to taxpayers. The DOD’s goal is to have 25 percent of all energy consumed by 2025 be supplied by renewable sources.
The project is scheduled for a five year deployment, beginning with a four megawatt installation at Hickam Air Force base in Hawaii. SolarStrong is expected to sell electricity produced from the projects through long-term electricity sales agreements or lease solar systems through long-term lease contracts.
Under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP), the Department of Energy guarantees up to 80 percent of a loan provided to a renewable energy project by qualified financial institutions. To date, the Department has issued loans, loan guarantees, or conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling nearly $40 billion to support more than 40 clean energy projects across the United States. For more information, visit www.lpo.energy.gov.