Success  Stories - Siting Renewable  Energy on  Contaminated  Land
Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada
A Bright Future for the Nellis Air Force Base
Site Description
Nellis Air Force Base is a 14,000-acre facility located northeast
of Las Vegas.  It encompasses the Frenchman and Yucca Flats.
The site provides advanced combat training and is home to every
type of aircraft in the United States Air Force (USAF) inventory.
The property itself is divided into three main areas, which include
the  airfield and mission support functions, munitions, and
military housing. In addition, the property contains the Nevada
Test and Training Range.

Property History
The 140 acres  chosen for the solar facility includes a 33-acre
former landfill. Operational from 1958 to 1966, the landfill
contained debris from building demolition, paint sludge, wood
buildings and other solid waste. In 1996, the landfill was capped
with native soils and groundwater monitoring wells were installed
for  sampling every five years.  Contaminants of concern were
found in the 2005 sampling, including polychlorethene  (PVC) and
trichlorethene  (methyl chloroform).  ...The project's 2006
environmental impact statement determined that the landfill area,
along with the adjacent desert land, was suitable for housing the
solar project.

Renewable Energy Development
Working with  the Nevada Power Company, SunPower  Corp., and
MMA Renewable Ventures LLC, the USAF developed renewable
photovoltaic (PV) technology powerful enough to provide a
quarter of the entire base's energy needs. The PV system consists
of 72,416 solar panels on ground-mounted, fixed-tilt systems
engineered to follow the path of sun.  Generating 14 megawatts,
the  PV system covers 140 acres, including the 33-acre capped

Constructing part of the PV system on top of this former landfill
allowed Nellis Air Force Base to take advantage of land that could
have remained vacant for decades, maximizing the project's cost
effectiveness.  Using funds from private-sector companies that
received federal tax credits for  solar power investment including
Citibank, Allstate, John Hancock Financial Services, and Merrill
Lynch, the USAF hired SunPower to construct the $100 million
PV system from June to December 2007.

Presently, MMA finances, owns and operates the PV system
under a 20-year contract with the USAF. In return, the USAF is
able to take advantage of power purchase agreements allowing
Nellis to purchase electricity at a guaranteed fixed rate.  The solar
PV system is estimated to save the USAF $1 million annually and
reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 24,000 tons annually.

Property Size:
Site Ownership:
Former Use:

Project Type:
Type of RE:
Project Cost:

Key Partners:

Current Status:
EPA Region 8, Clark County, Las
  Vegas, Nevada
140 acres
United States Air Force
Military base infrastructure & housing,
  weapons testing, landfill
Polychlorethene (PVC), trichlorethene
Not EPA-tracked
Solar PV
Estimated $100 Million; includes
  72,416 solar panels on ground-
  mounted, fixed-tilt systems
U.S. Air Force, SunPower Corporation,
  Nevada  Power Company & MMA
  Renewable Ventures LLC
Complete and operational
    Implementing a solar power system on the capped
    landfill area allowed Nellis Air Force Base to take
    advantage of land that could have remained vacant for
    The renewable solar energy system allows NAFB to save
    $1 million on electricity and 24,000 tons of carbon
    dioxide annually.
    The project allows the Nevada Power Company to reach
    their solar power compliance goals six years ahead of
    Project is estimated to generate at least 25 million
    kilowatt-hours  of clean electricity annually, enough to
    power 2350 homes.
                                    CONTACT: Nellis Air Force Base Captain Justin McVay Chief of Internal and Media Relations (702) 652-2407
                                                                     CONTACT: SunPower Corp. Helen Kendrick (408) 240-5585

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