Officials gathered on Wednesday to recognize Fort Riley’s first milestone of its solar program.
Under the program about 1,260 homes at Fort Riley will receive solar panels this year, at no cost to the military.
In the Warner-Peterson neighborhood, 177 homes have been outfitted with solar panels as the first phase of the program. The solar work on Fort Riley provides energy-efficient homes in support of the Department of Defense Privatized Housing Solar Challenge initiative. The goal is for rate stabilization and increased energy security to the community, while eliminating approximately 32,000 tons of carbon emissions each year.
“This milestone marks a significant step in achievement of Fort Riley’s energy conservation goals,” said Col. John D. Lawrence, Fort Riley garrison commander. “Through this large-scale generation of solar energy, the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley are demonstrating the commitment to energy security and sustainability. Army readiness is the true reason for this effort.”
Construction on the project began in February 2018 with Onyx Construction projected to install solar power on approximately 1,260 homes throughout the communities on post. Thirty-seven percent of annual electricity consumption is projected to be offset and 14,000 megawatt hours g
enerated in the first year alone. This is equivalent to taking 2,736 cars off the road or planting 14,510 acres of forest. This is the largest solar program installed to date in the state of Kansas.
“This solar initiative is an extension of our commitment to creating and implementing complex energy solutions for our partners in helping them achieve their goals,” Champagne said. “It’s core to who we are and the value we hold in improving the communities in which we serve.”
Corvias’ portfolio-based solar program across partner military installations will play a large part in meeting
the DoD’s goals to:
- Reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2025;
- Increase the use of renewable energy to the level of 20 percent by 2030;
- Install 300 megawatts of renewable energy across federally subsidized housing by 2020; and
- Double energy productivity by 2030.
Key to this initiative is the Solar Ready Vets program, which was started by the Department of Energy to provide active-duty service members who are near the end of their enlistment with an opportunity to train for careers in the solar industry. Power Factor, a subcontractor working on the Fort Riley solar project, has actively hired veterans through USO Pathfinder and similar programs; there are currently 13 military veterans working on-site, some of whom were stationed at Fort Riley.
In addition to this solar project, Corvias continues to improve the overall housing footprint at Fort Riley through demolition and construction activity. In 2017, 253 units in the Warner-Peterson neighborhood were demolished or donated, through Operation Walking Shield, to residents of the Kickapoo Nation. An additional 335 units in the Colyer Manor neighborhood were placed offline for demolition and are currently.