Northerners weary of the long winter dream of Florida sunshine. But locals know those beautiful rays are also responsible for scorching temperatures, exhausted air conditioners, and soaring energy costs. Lockheed Martin has found a way to harness the sun’s energy with a solar carport. The project, located near Clearwater, Florida, provides 151,400 square feet of protected parking for 534 cars, sheltered by 7,260 solar modules. It is the largest private, non-utility solar project in the state, and will allow Lockheed Martin to cut facility energy costs by up to 60 percent. That’s over $300,000 in savings annually and $6.5 million over the life of the project. Plus, the innovative carport will help Lockheed Martin contribute to achieving companywide goals of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 35% and energy use by 25% by the year 2020.
In March 2015, Lockheed Martin broke ground on the project with lead contractor Advanced Green Technologies. AGT was selected to design and build the 2.25 megawatt solar carport that will feature photovoltaic panels manufactured by Hanwha SolarOne Co. Ltd and inverters by SunGrow. The development will produce approximately 3.33 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year for 25 years.
“The solar carport demonstrates how sustainable solutions at Lockheed Martin benefit the triple bottom line – reducing our carbon footprint through renewable power sources, improving our affordability through reduced energy costs and providing an employee benefit of shaded parking,” said Mike Sarpu, vice president of Operations at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training.
The solar carport represents one of three new on-site renewable energy projects around Lockheed Martin that will generate an additional three megawatts of solar power at various facilities, once completed and fully functional by the end of 2015. The corporation is emphasizing resource efficiency in operations as one of six core sustainability issues, as detailed in its most recent Sustainability Report.
The solar array near Clearwater, Florida is a step towards contributing to a sustainable energy future for the community.