National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA missions now powered by California gold…en sunshine

March 25, 2016

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An NNSA national laboratory is taking advantage of California’s blue skies to power critical national security and science research. The solar power system installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is now fully functional and producing electricity.

In 2015, NNSA announced the agreement for a solar electrical generation system onsite at LLNL. The power generated by this system will represent the NNSA’s largest purchase of solar power from an onsite facility. Solar commercial operations began on Feb. 17, roughly three months after construction began.

“This solar power purchase through Western supports national energy security, the clean energy economy, and climate change goals articulated by the President,” said NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz.  “NNSA is proud to contribute to these important goals and enhance energy security and renewable energy efforts at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.”

The Whitethorn Solar Facility generates 3.35 Megawatts (MW) on a clear, sunny day with expectations to generate approximately 6,300 MWh annually. Solar industry estimates indicate that 3.35 MW of solar power is enough electricity to power more than 600 homes.

Juwi Solar Inc. designed, engineered, installed and maintains the fixed-tilt solar photovoltaic array. The bundled renewable power generated from this system will be sold to the Western Area Power Administration through a 20-year purchase power contract, and NNSA will purchase the renewable power for LLNL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

In the spring, NNSA’s Livermore Field Office will co-host a dedication and open house for the system.

Read more about solar power generation at Livermore on the LLNL website.