Solar reduces energy waste at marquee

Danny Steinmetz, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron asset optimization chief, Col. Douglas Barron, 9th Mission Support Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Mark Shoviak, 9th CES commander, and Robert McBride, 9th CES, cut the ceremonial ribbon signifying the start of operation for the newly installed solar panel array at the main four-way stop sign intersection. The array will power the main information marquee for Beale AFB.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Mr. John Schwab)

Danny Steinmetz, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron asset optimization chief, Col. Douglas Barron, 9th Mission Support Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Mark Shoviak, 9th CES commander, and Robert McBride, 9th CES base energy manager, cut the ceremonial ribbon signifying the start of operation for the newly installed solar panel array at the main four-way stop sign intersection. The array will power the main information marquee for Beale AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mr. John Schwab/Released)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- Beale leadership flipped the switch on new solar panels powering the marquee at the corner of Gavin-Mandery and J Street during a ribbon cutting Oct. 26.

The panels, provided by Air Combat Command at no cost to the base, were installed in an effort to reduce energy use and showcase Team Beale's effort to follow the commander's priority of reducing waste.

"It's reasonable to identify garbage, money or electronics as waste, but most people don't remember that electricity is also an asset which can be misused," said Robert McBride, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron base energy manager. "Projects like these are right in line with the general's goals."

McBride said the new solar panels are in a perfect place because the marquee uses electricity 24 hours a day and has a good number of vehicles pass by it each day.

"Our hope is for people to see the effort we are making while we try to reduce our footprint on energy usage," he said.

Installing the panels coincided with Energy Awareness Month. The month's theme, "Power the Force, Fuel the Fight," was aimed at encouraging Airmen to do more than just reduce demand for energy but also to increase the supply.

The Air Force leads the Department of Defense as the number one producer and user of renewable energy. More than six percent of Air Force electric supply comes from on-base renewable energy projects including wind, solar, geothermal and landfill gas.

Roberta Norberg, 9th CES project manager, said a recent base facilities inspection will provide 11 energy savings projects over the next several years. This will help with the base's goal of reducing energy usage by three percent each year.

"Anything we can do using the resources available to us will help us reduce our footprint," Norberg said. "Whether it is a huge solar field or just turning off the lights when they are not in use, every little bit can help us achieve our goal."