Construction will begin this month on the 30-acre site, and the plant is expected to be operational by summer 2011.

The project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, as a result of government requirements for federal facilities to use increasing amounts of renewable energy.

SunPower and Colorado Springs Utilities will each own 50% of the renewable energy credits (RECs) and environmental benefits associated with the system.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates, the system at the Air Force Academy will avoid more than 9,400 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.