Ray Mabus

The US Department of the Navy (DON) has signed an agreement with Western Area Power Administration and Sempra US Gas & Power to construct a 210MW direct current solar facility to support 14 DON installations.

The new development is expected to diversify the DON’s shore energy portfolio and deliver long-term cost stability that supports the DON’s energy security priorities.

Sempra US Gas & Power’s Mesquite Solar 3 project will deliver a third of the energy needed to power 14 navy and Marine Corps installations.

The construction of the plant, which is located 60 miles west of Phoenix in Arizona, is expected to start this month.

Navy secretary Ray Mabus said: "The collaboration on Mesquite Solar 3 is a triumph of innovative problem solving, and will help to increase the DON’s energy security by diversifying our power portfolio and improving energy efficiency.

"This agreement is also projected to save the DON at least $90m over the life of the project."

"The collaboration on Mesquite Solar 3 is a triumph of innovative problem solving."

As part of the development, more than 650,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels on ground-mounted, horizontal single-axis trackers will be installed in the plant. The construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.

The new plant also enables the 14 installations to comply with California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

It will contribute 2% of the power required to meet the goal of bringing one gigawatt of renewable energy into procurement by the end of this year.

In 2009, Congress instructed the US Department of Defense (DoD) to produce or procure 25% of total DoD facility energy from renewable sources by 2025.

Image: Ray Mabus signs a solar panel during a ceremony commemorating an agreement with Western and Sempra. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by mass communication specialist 2nd class Armando Gonzales / Released.