Lend Lease and SolarCity® have announced the next project within SolarStrong, SolarCity’s ambitious plan to provide solar electricity for up to 120,000 U.S. military homes. The two companies are collaborating to provide renewable solar energy to more than 850 military residences at Lend Lease-managed Air Force communities in California and Colorado Springs -- Tierra Vista at the Los Angeles Air Force Base, and Peterson AFB and Schriever AFB, both in Colorado Springs.
This project furthers Lend Lease’s commitment towards building and maintaining state-of-the-art sustainable communities for U.S. military families. With a focus on identifying innovative sustainable solutions, Lend Lease projects also include the two largest solar communities in the country at Soaring Heights Communities (Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ) and Island Palms Communities (Army Housing, Oahu, HI) , the largest solar thermal project in the nation at Camp Lejeune, NC as well as the only Zero Energy homes on a military installation at Fort Campbell, KY.
For the Tierra Vista project, SolarCity will engineer, install and maintain the solar systems at all three Air Force Base (AFB) locations. The program is expected to generate more than 6.4 million kilowatt hours per year of clean, renewable energy from more than 18,000 solar panels. These panels are expected to offset between 30-60 percent of the electricity typically used in each community. The systems will also help reduce strain on the electricity grid during hot summer months when energy demand is often at its highest, and when communities are at risk of blackouts.
“This latest project allows us to continue raising the bar when it comes to modern, sustainable solutions for our residents,” said Simon Muir, Vice President, Director of Solar Services, Lend Lease. “We are committed to finding ways to meet the energy challenges of our lifetime and helping the Defense Department, currently the largest energy consumer in the United States, meet its goal of having 25 percent of its overall energy consumption derived from clean, renewable sources by 2025. This is another big step toward that direction.”
“The United States military is aggressively pursuing reductions in its fossil fuel energy use—SolarStrong gives privatized military housing communities an affordable way to use solar electricity,” said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. “With its decades of experience developing sustainable communities around the world, Lend Lease continues to be a more than capable partner in this effort.”
“Project SolarStrong is good business that builds lasting benefits in local communities across the country,” said Jonathan Plowe, head of New Energy & Infrastructure Solutions at BofA Merrill Lynch, one of the financiers of these projects. “We’re proud to be helping SolarCity, Lend Lease and the United States military reduce reliance on fossil fuels, promote a healthier environment and create good jobs for Americans, including many for veterans and military families.”
Military families, whose homes are about to receive the new solar panels, are expressing enthusiasm for the project. “We are excited to see that Tierra Vista is looking to the future by stepping up with green initiatives,” said Raquel Taylor, a resident in Tierra Vista Los Angeles AFB’s Pacific Heights neighborhood. “I can’t wait to see how this solar project will benefit our community.”
Lend Lease and SolarCity have also carried out large-scale solar projects at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In addition to Project SolarStrong, SolarCity this year has devoted resources to a veterans hiring initiative to support veterans looking to join the workforce. The company currently employs more than 75 veterans in various positions within the company, including IT, sales, managerial, administration, design and installation. SolarCity participates in and holds job fairs for veterans and has collaborated on hiring processes by partnering with several veteran programs across the country – Veteran Affairs national offices, Bank of America’s military recruiting efforts, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s ‘100,000 Jobs Mission,’ Swords to Plowshares, The California National Guard, The California Conservation Corps, and Veterans Green Jobs.