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Jun 13, 2011 4:40 PM by Matt Stafford

AFA solar array up and running

You probably seen it driving on I-25, near North Academy; the Air Force Academy's new solar array is up and running.

The groups who put it together; Sun-Power Corp., Colorado Springs Utilities, and AFA flipped the switch for the array --showing that it's now at full power.

The $18.3 million dollar facility was paid for through stimulus funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Colorado Springs Utilities contracted with Sun-Power to design, operate, and maintain the array.

Also, cadets and instructors will use the facility, learning about generating and using renewable energy.

The array is expected to generate six megawatts of electricity, and Academy staff hope it will cover 11 to 12 percent of the base's energy bill. The energy generated and used at the Air Force Academy also takes some strain off of the local power grid, cutting down the need for energy that the Academy would have to buy from Colorado Springs Utilities.

The Academy hopes to save about one million dollars a year, for each of the next 25 years, from this project. This is part of their Net-Zero Initiative, to generate all of the electricity used on base from renewable energy sources.

We'll take a closer look at the solar array Monday evening on News First 5.

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