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NASA Wallops Breaks Ground on Major Solar Project

Press Release From: Wallops Flight Facility
Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2019

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility broke ground today on a solar project that is estimated to reduce energy consumption of non-renewable resources at the Facility by as much as 80%.

The 13-megawatt solar farm will include both Sun-tracking ground mounted arrays near the facility’s airfield and carport-style canopy arrays.

Ray Rubilotta, Associate Center Director at Goddard Space Flight Center, said, “The Wallops solar farm project is key to meeting our master plan goal to reach a smaller, more affordable infrastructure over the next 20 years through a combined reduction in square footage and operations/maintenance costs.”

The new installations will be the first time the facility has made such a significant investment in renewable energy. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the solar project is predicted to be the equivalent of removing 4,257 cars from the road per year.

Dave Pierce, Wallops director, said, “Perhaps no other time in my more than 30 years of service at Wallops has there been such a rapid uptick in growth and investments at the facility. These investments are proof positive of the Agency’s commitment in Wallops and they underscore the fact that Wallops is critical to the NASA mission.”

The solar farm is just one of many sustainability initiatives from the facility to offset energy costs and become more operationally efficient. Wallops also has improved the efficiency of its lighting and heating and air conditioning systems, as well as earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certifications on its new Mission Operations Control Center and island-based firehouse, both completed in 2018.

“The solar farm is a very visible project because of the renewable and environmental aspects that it has and the sustainability goals that it meets,” said Harold White, Wallops solar farm project manager. “It’s a great opportunity for the Eastern Shore, NASA and Wallops.”

“NASA has been an engaged and creative collaborator; we work together to develop innovative projects that will positively influence NASA facilities as well as their surrounding communities. We congratulate NASA Wallops on embarking on a solar initiative that other flight facilities will strive to emulate, said,”  Nicole Bulgarino, executive vice-president of Federal Solutions at Ameresco, the solar project contractor.

Construction will begin immediately on the solar field.

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