154th Wing Public Affairs
Story by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz
Thursday, October 29, 2015
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — The Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Civil Engineering Squadron held a ground breaking ceremony for a future solar array facility here Oct. 27.
When complete, the solar array, under optimal conditions, will produce close to 750 kilowatts per hour. The Hawaii Air National Guard anticipates the electricity produced will lead to an $830,000 reduction in its annual electricity expense.
“The purpose of this project is to reduce the energy cost for the Hawaii Air National Guard” said Air Force Capt. Nhut Dao, chief of engineering for the 154th Civil Engineering Squadron. “On average the HIANG pays eight million dollars a year for energy costs.”
The photovoltaic farm is being constructed on the former parking lot of the CE squadron and is but one piece of the HIANG’s renewable energy strategy, executed in three phases.
Phase one involved the F-22 bed down with installation of PV systems on various operations, maintenance, and support facilities. Phase two involves the installation and building of four additional PV units on the HIANG grounds. Deployment of wind power, waste to energy conversion systems as well as hydrogen to energy conversion capabilities are hallmarks of the third phase.
“Because the (energy) cost is so high, we’re doing everything we can to reduce that energy cost by looking at every option we have when it comes to renewable energy.” said Dao.
The plan was developed through a partnership with state, federal, and commercial energy experts.
“This wasn’t just about the HIANG. We partnered with multiple agencies in order to make this project a reality,” said Dao. “The Air Force Civil Engineering Center, National Guard Bureau, and Hawaii Center for Advance Transportation Technology… all played a big part in making this project happen.”
Decreasing the HIANG’s energy cost was not the only goal of the project. According to Dao, the focus on renewable energy increases energy security by mitigating a heavy reliance on the existing electrical distribution grid. “Should the grid go out for whatever reason, we still would have the electrical resources available to continue with our mission.” said Dao.
The HIANG anticipates its electrical energy expense to be net zero once all renewable energy methods have been completed and fully implemented.
“Everyone is really pushing for the HIANG to be a showcase for renewable energy,” said Dao.