A special groundbreaking ceremony will be held at NASA’s newest solar array field at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 6, 2019 to signify the start of construction on the solar arrays at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The project is estimated to reduce energy consumption of non-renewable resources at the Facility by as much as 80%.

The 13-megawatt solar farm will be constructed in two phases and include both Sun-tracking ground-mounted arrays near the facility’s airfield and carport-style canopy arrays. While the first phase of the project will only support Wallops’ energy needs, solar panels installed during the second phase will be connected to the region’s energy grid and positively impact consumers from Delaware to the Norfolk area.

“It’s a very visible project because of the renewable and environmental aspects that it has and the sustainability goals that it meets,” said Harold White, solar farm project manager. “It’s a great opportunity for the Eastern Shore, NASA and Wallops.”

The new installations will be the first time the facility has made such a significant investment in renewable energy. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is predicted to be the equivalent of removing 4,257 cars from the road per year.

The solar farm is just one of many sustainability initiatives from the facility and its Visitor Center to offset energy costs and become more operationally efficient. Wallops also has improved the efficiency of its lighting and heating and air conditioning systems, as well as earned LEED certifications on its new Mission Operations Control Center and island-based firehouse.