The US Navy Pearl Harbor Chooses SunPower Solar Electric Generation System


The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) manages the planning, design, construction, contingency engineering, real estate, environmental and public works support for U.S. Navy shore facilities around the world. NAVFAC provides the U.S. Navy forces with the operating support and training bases they need. NAVFAC is a global organization with an annual volume of business in excess of $7.6 billion. As a major Navy Systems Command and an integral member of the Navy and Marine Corps team, NAVFAC delivers timely and effective facilities engineering solutions worldwide.


Pearl Harbor’s solar power system began as a Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) initiative and joint venture with the Navy. Originally, HECO offered to finance and build a photovoltaic array on Navy land, which they would lease. Over time, the project was adjusted and what began as a large-scale energy park to be located in Pearl Harbor’s West Loch area, evolved into a smaller project placed on the roof of Ford Island’s Building 54.


After evaluating multiple renewable energy alternatives, the Navy chose to install an onsite solar electric generation system at Pearl Harbor. This system will reduce the need for expensive electricity purchases from Hawaiian Electric Company during peak energy demand periods, while providing the Navy with reliable, high-quality power with minimal environmental impact.

The 309 kW photovoltaic system was designed and installed by SunPower, operated by Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Hawaii. Funding for this project was obtained through the outstanding efforts of the State of Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation. At the time of its’ completion in 2005, Pearl Harbor’s photovoltaic system was the largest federal solar electric installation in Hawaii.

The system is a unique solar electric system which makes innovative use of an unused asset—the rooftop of Building 54, a historic aircraft hangar on Ford Island. The solar array covers 31,000 square feet, and produces the equivalent energy during the daytime to power over 300 homes.

SunPower's Rooftop System Is Non-Penetrating

The solar system uses high efficiency photovoltaic modules to generate maximum power output per square foot. Each module has a maximum rated output of 200 watts. The solar electric system integrates photovoltaic modules, which use solar cells made of solid-state semi-conductors to convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. The DC output from the PV modules is converted to AC electricity by inverters located at the site,and then stepped up to 12kV, three-phase AC electricity by insolation transformers for connection to the Navy’s utility distribution system.

SunPower PowerGuard® Roof Tiles fit together with interlocking tongue-and-grooveside surfaces that enable them to resist wind uplifts without penetrations. In addition to generating electricity, SunPower’s PowerGuard solar roof system provides thermal insulation and protects the roof membrane from harsh UV rays and thermal degradation.These benefits result in decreased heating and cooling energy costs and extended roof life.

Project Overview

Location:    Ford Island, Pearl Harbor
Date Completed:    September 2005
System Peak Capacity:    309 kW
PV Surface Area:    31,000 square feet
Solar Electric Tiles:    1,545
Products:    SunPower® PowerGuard®


The electricity generated by the photovoltaic system is a reliable, high-quality power supply. Building 54’s array produces peak power during the daytime, which coincides with Pearl Harbor’s peak electrical needs and contributes to the Navy’s peak shaving actions, resulting in annual cost savings of $40,000.

By avoiding the purchase of fossil-fuel generated electricity, Pearl Harbor’s solar electric system spares the environment from thousands of tons of harmful emissions, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, which are major contributors to smog, acid rain and global warming. It is estimated that over the 30-year lifetime of the photovoltaic system, the solar generated electricity will reduce emissionsof carbon dioxide by 4,600 tons. These emission reductions are equivalent to planting 1,300 acres of trees, removing 1,000 cars or not driving 11.5 million miles on the island of Oahu.