The VA Tackles Renewable Energy

by Robert Stretch on November 2, 2010

The Department of Veterans Affairs, which has always been known for its achievements for enhancing the lives of veterans and active duty service members, is now striving to protect the environment through the use of renewable energy.

In April, the Department of Veterans Affairs began investigating the use of renewable energy for 38 of its medical centers in 15 states and Puerto Rico. Through the investigations, the VA hopes to demonstrate their own support for renewable energy initiatives by reducing their own environmental footprint. The VA is also hoping to update its existing energy plants to include cogeneration, an energy efficient system that produces electricity and steam.

“We expect this to lead to exciting opportunities for VA to reduce its environmental footprint,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki. “These feasibility studies will help our efforts in the VA’s transition to clean, renewable energy sources.”

The most recent renewable energy project taken on by the VA was its decision to install a 3 megawatt expansion on a 630 kilowatt carport at the Phoenix VA Medical Center in Arizona.  The $78 million project was awarded to PV Systems, and will create 5.7 million kilowatt-hours of annual energy which is enough energy to power 600 homes.

“The benefits of using solar power are significant, from our reduced utility bills to the quality of the air we breathe,” declared Secretary Shinseki. “This initiative is good for Veterans and good for our environment.”

The VA has completed or began work on several other renewable energy projects including ones in Georgia and Pennsylvania.  In May of 2010, the VA completed the largest solar power project in Philadelphia by installing a 455kW solar power roof on its Veteran Affair Building. The project has allowed the building to meet 5% of its electricity needs while simultaneously reducing its footprint.

All efforts made by the Department of Veterans Affairs are a part of its long-term plan to attain 15% of its energy from renewable sources.

Photo thanks to waynenf under creative common license on Flickr.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jose L. Ortiz June 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I’m a disable veteran and I want to know if VA have any benefit to help the veteran to buy renewable solar energy equipments. Please, I need any info about it.

Thanks!!!

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Audrey Beebe June 28, 2011 at 11:15 am

Jose, the benefit most likely to be what you are looking for is the housing adaptation grant. This is a grant awarded to veterans whose disability prevents them from adequate movement about their home. The grant can be used to renovate the home to provide better access and a disability-adapted environment. The renewable energy resources you’re interested in could potentially be integrated into this type of home adaptation.

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