Atlanta-based utility Georgia Power has announced plans to build a new 139 MW solar facility adjacent to Robins Air Force Base (AFB) in Warner Robins, Ga., just south of Macon. The project was approved Tuesday by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) and will be the sixth large-scale solar project to be developed by Georgia Power working with the U.S. military and the Georgia PSC. Furthermore, the Warner Robins facility will be the largest single solar project to date to be constructed by Georgia Power.
According to the utility, the new solar facility will be located on approximately 870 acres of land reserved to prevent encroachment near the base and is expected to include more than 500,000 solar panels. As with Georgia Power’s other military projects, power from the facility will be delivered to the state’s electric grid at or below the utility’s avoided cost, the amount projected it would cost the company to generate comparable energy from other sources. The solar project at Robins AFB is estimated to represent a more than $200 million investment and will help to enable the base to meet critical energy security and energy resiliency goals.
Norrie McKenzie, Georgia Power’s vice president of renewable development, says, “At Robins Air Force Base, and across the state, we have found that we share a mission with our nation’s military to secure local bases and contribute to our country’s energy independence, while also adding cost-effective renewable generation as part of a diverse energy mix to provide our customers with reliable, affordable energy.”
Georgia Power expects to conduct planning, engineering and design for the project, as well as a competitive bid process to select a construction contractor, throughout this year and 2018. Construction of the facility is expected to begin no earlier than 2018, and the project is anticipated to enter commercial operation before the end of 2019.
Georgia Power says it currently owns and operates 120 MW of large-scale solar facilities now online at Georgia military bases, including projects with the U. S. Army at Fort Benning, Fort Gordon and Fort Stewart and with the U.S. Department of the Navy at SUBASE Kings Bay. In addition, the company is currently building a 31 MW solar facility at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
The utility says that, through its various solar programs, Georgia Power is adding millions of solar panels to Georgia’s energy landscape while also ensuring reliability for customers. With approval from the Georgia PSC through the company’s 2016 Integrated Resource Plan, Georgia Power plans to add up to 1.6 GW of renewable energy through 2021.
Photo: Georgia Power’s vice president of renewable development, Norrie McKenzie, announces the plan to build a new 139 MW solar facility adjacent to Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga.