Gulf Power starts construction on solar microgrid to help Tyndall Air Force Base

Special to Gannett
Gulf Power, FPL partnered with Tyndall Air Force Base to construct and operate a microgrid pilot project that will back up key facilities on base and serve as a potential prototype for other Air Force bases in the future.

PENSACOLA – As part of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), Gulf Power announced that construction began on an innovative solar microgrid pilot project the company is building and will operate in partnership with Tyndall Air Force Base.

The microgrid pilot project supports the U.S. Air Force’s plan to rebuild Tyndall as a more resilient “Installation of the Future,” and could serve as a prototype for future Department of Defense installations.

Tyndall Air Force Base sustained a direct hit from Hurricane Michael in 2018. The Category 5 hurricane caused an estimated $4.7 billion in catastrophic damage and destroyed nearly 500 buildings beyond repair. In 2020, the USAF announced they would rebuild the base as an “Installation of the Future,” with updated building codes, “smart building” technology and features that will make the base more storm resilient.

“As Tyndall rebuilds, Gulf Power and FPL are combining resiliency and renewables to the effort as a way to ensure mission readiness,” said Mike Spoor, Gulf Power vice president. “This pilot project is a win-win for the regional economy, the Air Force and our customers. Supporting Tyndall’s viability is critical to thousands of military and civilian jobs. And, the Air Force, Gulf Power and FPL will be working together to learn from this first-of-its-kind project and test a variety of use cases, which could help us build a smarter, stronger grid for customers – especially during storms.”

The microgrid at Tyndall, which Gulf Power and FPL expect to complete early next year, will comprise a 150-kilowatt (kW) solar array and 450 kW, 2.5-hour battery. The microgrid will have a 10-year lifespan and support three buildings on base. By partnering with Tyndall, Gulf Power and FPL will have the opportunity to further explore cutting-edge microgrid technology, while supporting the U.S. Air Force and the local economy at the same time.

“The Air Force has a tradition of operating on the leading edge of innovation, and at Tyndall Air Force Base, microgrid technology has emerged as a promising way to create a resilient and sustainable ‘Installation of the Future,'” said Col. Travis Leighton, Natural Disaster Recovery Program division chief.  

Learn more about FPL’s energy storage technology at www.fpl.com/energy-my-way/battery-storage.html

Learn more about the rebuilding process at Tyndall Air Force at www.tyndall.af.mil/Rebuild/