Home
Journal
 
Back
 
Nation’s Largest Solar PV System Takes Flight at Nellis Air Force Base

SunPower Corporation
December 17, 2007


Public-Private Partnership Makes Solar Practical, Enhances Energy Independence,
and Reduces CO2 Emissions by 24,000 Tons per Year


Today the U.S. Air Force celebrates the completion of North America's largest solar
photovoltaic system at Nellis Air Force Base. A joint project of the U.S. Air Force,
MMA Renewable Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity,
LLC (NYSE: MMA), SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWR), and Nevada
Power Company, the 14 megawatt Nellis solar energy system will generate
more than 30 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean electricity annually and
supply approximately 25 percent of the total power used at the base, where 12,000 people live and work.

Combining technology and systems expertise from SunPower Corporation and
financing by MMA Renewable Ventures with discounted purchase commitments by the
U.S. Air Force, the innovative Nellis solar energy system demonstrates that the
U.S. government's goals for enhancing security through energy independence can
be met both economically and practically when the public and private sectors
work together.

SunPower Corporation designed and built the photovoltaic power plant using its
proprietary single-axis SunPower® T20 Tracker solar tracking system which
follows the sun throughout the day and delivers up to 30 percent more energy
than traditional fixed-tilt ground systems.

Equally innovative is the funding and ownership of the landmark solar energy
system: MMA Renewable Ventures, LLC has financed and will operate the solar
power plant, selling electricity to Nellis Air Force Base at a guaranteed fixed
rate for the next 20 years. Nevada Power will support the project by purchasing
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) generated by the solar array. MMA Renewable
Ventures closed a fund for the system earlier this year with financing
commitments from Citi, Allstate, and John Hancock Financial Services, with
Merrill Lynch providing construction financing.

Dignitaries such as Air Force Assistant Secretary William Anderson and Nevada
Governor Jim Gibbons will flip a switch marking full operation of the system at
a ceremony to be held today at the Nellis base. A team including MMA Renewable
Ventures, SunPower Corporation, and Nevada Power Company will join public
officials in recognizing the United States Air Force for its commitment to
national security, energy independence and environmental sustainability.

"This solar project at Nellis is a first step of many toward making renewable
electricity integral to the operations of the U.S. Air Force," said Assistant
Secretary Anderson. "As the largest consumer of energy in the federal
government, the Air Force is well-positioned to promote both solar technology
and new approaches to its implementation. This pioneering initiative is a good
example of how a creative approach to public-private partnership can make our
energy supply more sustainable, more secure and more affordable."

"The best way to secure a healthy and prosperous economy is to develop our
affordable, reliable local resources," said Governor Gibbons. "With these 14
megawatts, Nellis Air Force Base is leading the country in solar energy
deployment, a move that is good for the environment and our nation's energy
security alike."

Covering 140 acres of land at the western edge of the Nellis base, the
photovoltaic system comprises 72,000 solar panels using the SunPower Tracker
technology. The energy generated will support over 12,000 military and civilians
at Nellis who are responsible for Air Force advanced combat training, tactics
development and operational testing.

"We are faced with an incredible opportunity to promote U.S. energy security by
developing our own abundant domestic resources," said United States Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. "Nevada and the United States have the
technology and natural resources to serve our growing power demand with clean,
renewable energy. I congratulate the Air Force for its continued leadership on
clean power."

"Nellis, the 'Home of the Fighter Pilot,' is now home to the largest solar
electric power plant in all of North America," said Colonel Michael Bartley,
Nellis Air Force Base commander. "Our base and indeed our entire nation will
benefit from the predictable, secure supply of clean energy that this landmark
power plant is now generating. The project also provides a future test bed for
the Department of Defense to assess the benefits of similar arrangements on
installations across the United States."

"The Nellis project is a powerful demonstration of the U.S. Air Force's ability
to execute on its aggressive goals for clean energy. From early concept through
today's dedication, the Air Force collaborated closely with the strong coalition
of partners instrumental in making this grand vision for solar a reality, and we
look forward to maintaining that solid relationship over the long life of this
clean energy system," said Matt Cheney, CEO of MMA Renewable Ventures. "The
Nellis project further demonstrates how public-private partnership coupled with
an innovative approach to third-party finance can make solar an affordable
solution at even the largest scale."

"We congratulate the Air Force for having the vision to make solar power a
mainstream energy source, and for hosting the largest solar photovoltaic system
in the nation," said Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower. "Solar power is the fastest
growing energy resource to help meet our escalating power demand, generating
reliable, affordable power without creating emissions or waste. Nellis' decision
to maximize the size and efficiency of its solar system underscores its
commitment to secure energy and environmental preservation. We are proud that
SunPower was selected by the Air Force to design, supply, and build this
hallmark project."

"Working with partners, such as Nellis Air Force Base, to develop and generate
solar energy projects is part of our strategy of providing clean, safe, reliable
electricity to our customers at reasonable and predictable prices," said Michael
Yackira, chief executive officer of Sierra Pacific Resources, parent company of
Nevada Power. "Now that the Nellis solar energy system is on-line, the state of
Nevada will be number one in the United States in solar generation per capita.
We plan to expand our investments in renewable energy in order to increase the
leadership position our company already has in renewable energy nationwide."
About Nellis Air Force Base

Nellis Air Force Base is called the "Home of the Fighter Pilot," and for good
reason as Nellis is home of the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center. With five wings
and more than 150 aircraft, the Warfare Center is responsible for advanced
combat training, tactics development and operational testing. The Center also
conducts worldwide combat operations with the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle.
More information about Nellis is on the Web at www.nellis.af.mil.

About MMA Renewable Ventures

A subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, LLC "MuniMae," (NYSE: MMA), MMA
Renewable Ventures finances, owns and operates renewable energy and energy
efficiency assets in the United States. The Company provides leases, Power
Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and other customized financial solutions to help its
customers manage energy costs. MMA Renewable Ventures is dedicated to delivering
competitively priced, clean energy and energy savings to customers, strong
partnership options for project developers, and exceptional opportunities for
institutional investment in the clean energy sector. For more information about
MMA Renewable Ventures, visit www.mmarenewableventures.com.
About SunPower

SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWR) designs, manufactures and delivers
high-performance solar electric systems worldwide for residential, commercial
and utility-scale power plant customers. SunPower high-efficiency solar cells
and solar panels generate up to 50 percent more power than conventional solar
technologies and have a uniquely attractive, all-black appearance. With
headquarters in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe
and Asia. For more information, visit www.sunpowercorp.com. SunPower is a
majority-owned subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY).
About Nevada Power Company

Nevada Power Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the distribution,
transmission, generation, purchase and sale of electric energy in the southern
Nevada communities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Searchlight,
Laughlin and their adjoining areas. The Company also provides electricity to
Nellis Air Force Base, the
Department of Energy at Mercury and Jackass Flats at the Nevada Test Site.
Nevada Power Company provides electricity to approximately 815,000 residential
and business customers in a 4,500 square mile service area.

Headquartered in Nevada, Sierra Pacific Resources (NYSE:SRP) is a holding
company whose principal subsidiaries are Nevada Power Company, the electric
utility for most of southern Nevada, and Sierra Pacific Power Company, the
electric utility for most of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of
California. Sierra Pacific Power Company also distributes natural gas in the
Reno-Sparks area of northern Nevada.

Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities
Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking
statements are statements that do not represent historical facts. We use words
such as "will" and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited
to, our plans and expectations regarding reducing CO2 emissions by 24,000 tons
annually, generating more than 30 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity
annually, and supplying approximately 25% of the total power used by nearly
12,000 people who live and work at the base. These forward-looking statements
are based on information available to us as of the date of this release and
current expectations, forecasts and assumptions and involve a number of risks
and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from
those anticipated by these forward-looking statements.

Such risks and uncertainties include a variety of factors, some of which are beyond our
control. In particular, risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results
to differ include variations in carbon dioxide emissions reductions, actual
electricity generation, actual energy consumption rate, and other risks
described in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September
30, 2007, and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These
forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views
as of any subsequent date, and we are under no obligation to, and expressly
disclaim any responsibility to, update or alter our forward-looking statements,
whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 

Promoting Green Building Design, Construction and Operation, Sustainable Living,
Clean Technology, Renewable Energy Resources and Energy Independence