Plugging In to Military Solar

Photo: ZeroBase Energy, LLC

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is historically one of the greatest catalysts of technological innovation. Through its procurement power alone it has the ability to transform markets.

In recent years, the Navy, Army, and Air Force each implemented clean energy targets that will drive 3 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy installations by 2025. Specifically, PV accounts for 58 percent, or 1.1 GW, of identified DOD renewable energy capacity additions from 2012 to 2017.

With this massive solar ramp-up from one of the biggest energy users in the world, the solar industry has to navigate complex financing structures used by the military for their solar projects and installations. They are using power purchase agreements, enhanced use leases, and energy savings performance contracts to meet their targets.

Dale Freudenberger President/COO and Co-Founder of FLS Energy, the company behind the largest military installation of solar at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, will be bringing his expertise to SEIA’s Finance and Tax Seminar in New York next week. The seminar will identify the critical elements of securing a successful solar deal with the military.

Here at home, the military has utilized large utility scale solar projects to power bases, as well as smaller distributed-generation systems to energize thousands of buildings and homes. To date, there are more than 130 megawatts powering the armed forces in at least 31 states and the District of Columbia.

The solar industry stands ready to help bring solar energy to America’s troops, their families, and the surrounding regions. Be prepared to plug in to these opportunities and more with SEIA’s Finance and Tax Seminar, in New York, NY, July 25-26.

Tom Kimbis, General Counsel and Vice President of Executive Affairs at SEIA

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Tom Kimbis is the Interim President of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade organization for America’s solar energy industry. In addition to serving as Interim President, Tom serves as General Counsel of SEIA and heads relations between SEIA and the federal executive branch. He has been working in renewable energy since 2000, when he began supporting research, analysis, legislative, and planning efforts across all energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).In 2005, Tom created the Market Transformation effort within the Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP) at DOE to help technologies cross the chasm from R&D to commercialization. He served as Director of Market Transformation through 2009, when he began service as Acting Program Manager, managing the entire $170 million solar energy program of the United States. While at DOE, Tom was a founder of the Solar America Initiative, a billion-dollar effort to accelerate solar commercialization. He led the creation of the Solar America Cities program, a DOE partnership with U.S. cities to develop innovative methods for the adoption of solar energy technologies.Prior to his work in solar, Tom headed a DOE legislative team, founded a real estate investment firm, and practiced litigation for a multinational law firm. He served for six years as Chairman of The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit promoting the increased use of solar energy through education and research. He earned his B.A. from Williams College and a J.D. from the University of Virginia.

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