Army plans its largest solar array to date

The Army, which has been pursuing the feasibility of solar power on several fronts, has announced plans to build its largest solar array yet at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., where the array will provide about a quarter of the base’s electricity needs.

"This will be the largest solar array in the Department Of Defense on a military installation," Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, said in an announcement. The Army plans to break ground April 25 and begin commercial operations late this year.

The Fort Huachuca Renewable Energy Project, part of the military’s effort for greater energy independence, is a joint effort of the Army’s Energy Initiatives Task Force, Fort Huachuca, the General Services Administration, Tucson Electric Power and developer E.ON Climate and Renewables.

The military, like other agencies in government, have to meet federal requirements for renewable energy sources where possible. Solar power is one source. The Army’s largest solar photovoltaic system—so far—is located at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., where the solar system generates about 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year.

In other examples, the Air Force is using wind turbines to generate electricity at locations such as Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and Cape Cod Air Force Base, Mass. The Naval Research Laboratory, meanwhile, has hatched a plan to use satellite arrays to collect solar power in space and beam it to troops in remote areas.


About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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