The Nellis Solar Power Plant is the largest solar photovoltaic system in North America. It stands an example of the potential impact solar power can make in solving the energy problem of our generation. The plant consists of a collection of more than 72,000 panels built on 140 acres, including part of an old landfill. It is a public-private venture that cost $100 million to build and generates about 30% of the electricity used on the base, where 12,000 people live and work. It generates about 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. The 14 megawatt power plant is at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. It’s expected to save about $1 million in power costs annually, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 24,000 tons each year. 24,000 tons of CO2 emission is the equivalent of removing 4,000 cars from U.S. roads!!
Nevada is also the home of the solar thermal Nevada One project, which generates 64 megawatts of power. I believe the federal government should view these plants in Nevada as examples of the possibility of a new America where economic growth is built upon clean, renewable energy rather than foreign oil. Investing in renewable energy plants such as these not only provides a source of clean energy, but also acts as way to create jobs for Americans. The Nellis Solar Plant created over 200 jobs. Our current administration is a firm believer is embracing the potential of renewable technology. Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package includes about $476 million for expanding and accelerating the development of solar and geothermal energy. In the near future, we might be seeing more any more plants like the Nellis Solar Power Plant spring up around the U.S.