From: Associated Press
Published October 26, 2005 12:00 AM

NASA Scraps Plan to Wrap Hanger in Panels

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — NASA has scrapped plans to wrap a decommissioned hangar in solar panels after a contractor deemed the project impractical.


NASA said the panels would not generate enough energy to justify the $40 million cost of installing them.


"It's disappointing," said Sandy Olliges, NASA's director of environmental safety and mission assurance. "We just thought we would try it and see what happens. It's not worth anybody's while to do it."


NASA had hoped the panels would generate power for thousands of homes near Moffett Field in Mountain View. The agency was investigating how to use historic Hangar One, a 200-foot-high structure, which was sealed several years ago by the Environmental Protection Agency amid concerns about asbestos and other chemical contamination.


One idea to save the hangar was to erect a space museum inside with photovoltaic panels outside. The U.S. Navy, which is charged with the hangar's cleanup, estimated the repaneling costs at more than $40 million, compared with $16 million to demolish it.


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San Diego-based Sempra Energy, the only company to bid on the project, said the plan was not financially feasible. The company submitted a new proposal to NASA to put solar panels instead on an adjacent parking garage.


"The proposal reflects that putting solar panels on the hangar wasn't workable," said company spokesman Art Larson. "However, we thought a more cost-effective solution would be putting them on a parking structure in the vicinity."


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Information from: San Jose Mercury News


Source: Associated Press


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