The US Government publishes most of their contracts and other expenditures, and I give it a little attention at times. This one caught my eye: Sun Edison, L.L.C., Beltsville, Md., is being awarded a $38,400,000 firm-fixed-price contract for electricity to be provided from a photovoltaic array built, owned, and operated by the contractor, located on leased property at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., for a period not to exceed 25 years. The location of the performance is Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. Work is to be completed by Dec. 31, 2032. 355 CONS, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., is the contracting activity (FA4877-10-H-V003, previously FA4877-10-H-V002).
This article tells us the USAF bought the construction: http://www.dm.af.mil/pressreleasesarchive/story_print.asp?id=123222163 It says “14.5 megawatt photovoltaic solar array to be constructed by Sun Edison on DMAFB property.” “…cover approximately 130 acres …” It seems the USAF has gone bonkers for PV. Also, I read mixed information. It seems USAF didn’t pay for construction. It may be that private money financed the actual construction. DM AFB agreed to buy the power.
I cannot find information regarding the actual contract. It is hard to tell what they are actually paying for. It would seem they have just bought 25-years worth of output from the PV field. That is counter to normal government contracting. Five years for government contracts is long. Normal is no more than 24 months, with optional years for longer contracts. An actual 25-year contract seems impossible. (Congress, budgets, politics, etc.) Regardless, I’d like to see the terms of the contract. It is hard to believe this is a good deal for us tax payers.
Another article mentions that Sun Edison has begun to use Chinese PV panels due to their low cost. I suspect the “Buy American” clause was invoked in this if the government paid for any of the actual construction, but that seems not to be the case. Hard to tell. Google and Bing just didn’t find much.