By Michael Hasenauer, 57th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 24, 2021
Nellis Solar Array 2, one of two solar arrays at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., collects energy Oct. 19, 2021. NSA 2, which is located on 102 acres, converts solar power into 18.8 megawatts of electricity annually, avoiding 17,700 tons of carbon dioxide. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Hasenauer)
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: