WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of the Navy and Mississippi Power, a Southern Company subsidiary, broke ground March 2 on a large-scale solar facility at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport.
The facility will have roughly 13,000 panels, providing enough electricity to supply the equivalent of 450 homes. To be installed on 23 acres of base land, the facility will generate up to four megawatts of direct current power once operational. Mississippi Power estimates grid connection by the end of 2016.
Notable groundbreaking ceremony presenters and attendees included the Honorable Dennis V. McGinn, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations & environment; Capt. Cheryl M. Hansen, commanding officer of NCBC Gulfport; Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Samuel F. Britton, Southern District; and Anthony L. Wilson, president and CEO of Mississippi Power.
The ceremony commenced with the presentation of the Secretary of the Navy's Energy and Water Management Award, small shore category, to NCBC Gulfport for fiscal year 2015. Presented by McGinn, the award recognizes programs resulting in a consistent reduction in energy or water consumption.
"Partnerships, like the one between Mississippi Power and the Department of the Navy, make us stronger, enabling us to better serve and complete our mission. The efforts of NCBC to be effective managers of energy resources have been recognized at the highest levels of the Navy, and it is these efforts that make all of our bases more resilient and secure," said McGinn. "My heartiest congratulations to the base for all of its efforts."
Capt. Hansen recognized the installation's achievement and the impact of the solar facility. "NCBC Gulfport has taken extraordinary steps toward energy efficiency. Now, this solar facility is a significant step forward in our efforts toward energy resiliency."
"Renewable energy is important to a well-balanced energy portfolio," Wilson said. "This is one of three utility-scale solar projects that have been approved by the Mississippi Public Service Commission, making our company the state's largest partner in renewable energy. We are proud to team up with the Navy, along with the Commission and its staff, on this very important project."
With several energy efficient technologies including a solar power rooftop system and light-emitting diode parking and street lights, NCBC Gulfport is a participant in the Great Green Fleet (GGF). GGF is a year-long initiative highlighting the Navy's efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability. Renewable energy generation projects also improve the DON's energy security, strategic flexibility and resource availability.