Tyndall AFB Relies on Its Renewable Energy Initiative

At Tyndall AFB, a solar photovoltaic system is in the works, joining renewable energies already in use including biomass, geothermal and wind. The Air Force is the largest purchaser of renewable power in the federal government, accounting for 41 percent of all green power purchases by the federal government, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

An advanced solar photovoltaic system is scheduled for the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) facilities on Tyndall, due to a recently signed contract with Honeywell. “We are installing a concentrated solar photovoltaic system for AFRL facilities here,” said Gil Walker, Tyndall energy and utilities manager. “The Honeywell Corporation claims solar efficiency on this system is between 30 and 35 percent, nearly two to three times more efficient than other photovoltaic systems on the market.” “The Air Force energy plan incorporates a mixture of renewable energy sources, which supply power to facilities on bases throughout the Air Force,” said Richard Fillman, Headquarters Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency utility rates management expert. “During the 2005 fiscal year, 11 percent of the total electric energy consumed by the Air Force was supplied by renewable sources,” said Fillman. “Thirty-nine percent of that proportion originated from biomass, 16 percent was from geothermal sources, 38 percent was from wind and the remainder was from other renewable energy sources.” Beginning in 1997, five facilities and 75 housing units on base were provided with geothermal power heat pump units. “Because the ground temperature is relatively constant, the energy recovered is virtually endless,” said Walker. “In a salt-corrosive environment like we have at Tyndall and the Panama City area, the coils and equipment of a normal air conditioning unit corrode quickly and replacement is required frequently, normally seven to 10 years,” Walker said. “A geothermal system could last up to 25 years and possibly longer.”
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