National Guard’s $17 million project to harness solar energy |

National Guard’s $17 million project to harness solar energy

Teri Vance

The solar project at the National Guard building is not a product of thinking outside the box, Chief Warrant Officer Jim Groth told a crowd gathered Monday. It is blowing “that box to smithereens.”

The guard kicked off its $17 million project Monday to harness the sun’s energy with structures in Carson City and Las Vegas.

“For those who said it can’t be done, step aside, as we’re about to complete the task,” Groth said.

Construction will begin early next year on carports that will cover about half of the four-acre parking lot at the Office of the Adjutant General complex on Fairview Way. The carports will house solar panels that are expected to generate up to 60 percent of the energy needed to power the complex.

On sunny days – about 290 a year in Carson City – the panels will produce 140 percent of the complex’s needs between the hours of 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Gov. Jim Gibbons, who also spoke at Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony, said it was an honor to a part of it.

“This is but the start of something I think is going to benefit everyone in the state,” he said. “They’re not only producing a cleaner energy, but a better environment.”

Groth, an environmental protection specialist for the Nevada Army National Guard, said he hopes the project will set an example for other agencies throughout the state.

And he’s soon to have more influence on that. Groth will take over next week as the director of the Office of Energy.

“Jim Groth is a can-do kind of guy,” Gibbons said in a press release at the time of the appointment. “Jim has a proven track record of working through bureaucratic red tape and getting things done.”

The two other sites are the Las Vegas Readiness Center and the Floyd Edsall Training Center near North Las Vegas.