According to Jeffery Blazi, Nellis Air Force Base‘s Utilities and Energy manager, Nellis Solar Array 1 provided enough electricity to power more than 2,350 households in 2020.
Additionally, NSA 1 saves Nellis AFB $1 million in electricity annually and reduces its yearly greenhouse gas emissions by 24,000 tons. NSA 1 was built in 2007 and covers 140 acres, which includes a previous landfill of 33 acres and provides 14.2 megawatts of power.
NSA 2 occupies 102 acres. According to Blazi, when it was constructed in 2015, the Air Force received a new backup substation and electrical feeder valued at $10 million in return for the lease on the land. Currently NSA 2 provides 18.8 MW of solar power, avoiding 17,700 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
“If you combine NSA 1 and NSA2, then Nellis (AFB) has arguably the largest solar array in the Air Force,” Blazi said. “Eglin, Vandenberg, Elmendorf, Osan, Ramstein, Davis-Monthan, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Luke (AFBs) also have large solar arrays.”
Powering the base during the day is not the end for the electricity generated by the solar fields.
“Around 19% of the solar that we generate goes off-grid to supply the local community,” Blazi mentioned. “That is enough electricity to provide power to around 900 single family homes.”
At night, the base receives electricity from the Nevada Energy grid.
According to the Air Force’s Environment, Safety and Infrastructure office, “Every October, the Department of the Air Force recognizes Energy Awareness Month to highlight the critical role of energy for our combat capability and readiness, and the strategic importance of mitigating and adapting to climate change through energy-informed solutions.”
In recognition of Energy Awareness Month, here are some ways to help save energy and the environment:
- Unplug equipment that drains energy when not in use (e.g. cell phone chargers, coffeemakers, desktop printers, etc.).
- Collect your utility bills. Separate electricity and fuel bills. Target the largest energy consumer or the largest bill for energy conservation measures.
- During winter, open curtains on south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
- ENERGY STAR labeled products can cut your energy bills by up to 30%.
- Schedule an energy audit (ask your utility company or state energy office) for more expert advice on your home as a whole.
- Replace aging, inefficient appliances. Even if the appliance has a few useful years left, replacing it with a top-efficiency model is generally a good investment.
- Reduce your air-conditioning costs by planting shade trees and shrubs around the house-especially on the west side.
- To save gas when driving, drive the speed limit, accelerate and decelerate slower, remove excess/unneeded weight, reduce unnecessary idling and miles traveled, and make sure tires are aired up.
- Save energy and save money on monthly bills. Check with the local electric, gas and water companies for savings incentives. Some local companies offer rebates for installing energy saving equipment, as well as hand out wireless thermostats and other things that can help save on energy.