Recent research shows that the U.S. Military has a lot to gain through solar energy—as much as 7000 megawatts (MW) of solar power, or the equivalent output of seven nuclear power plants, through solar installations on four California military bases. A study released earlier this month showed that solar development in compatible areas could produce more than 30 times the electricity currently consumed by the California bases.
“The Department of Defense is seeking to develop solar, wind, geothermal and other distributed energy sources on its bases both to reduce their $4 billion-a-year energy bill and to make them less dependent on the commercial electricity grid,” said a recent press release about the study. “Such on-site energy generation, together with energy storage and so-called smart-microgrid technology, would allow a military base to maintain its critical operations ‘off-grid’ for weeks or months if the grid is disrupted.”
The bases in question include Edwards Air Force Base, Fort Irwin, China Lake and Twentynine Palms, and the combined acreage to be developed into solar power plants includes some 37,873 acres of land. The DoD hopes that through installations of solar, wind, geothermal and other alternative energy sources at these locations, it will be able to reduce costs enough to make the bases more self-supporting.
“On-site energy generation, together with energy storage and smart-microgrid technology,” writes Cheryl Kaften of PV Magazine, “would enable a military base to maintain its critical operations ‘off-grid’ for weeks or months, if the grid is disrupted.”
This is not the only solar push made by the U.S. military as of late: There’s also the upcoming launch of a new military-grade snap-on solar panel system, one which will add solar technology to golf carts and electric cars,
“As conceived by PowerFilm, the new solar panel doesn’t fully replace conventional power for charging up a golf cart battery,” writes Tina Casey at TriplePundit, “but it does help reduce battery charging costs, improve battery life, and extend the range of the vehicle.”
At Soluxe Solar, we’re always glad to hear about moves towards increased solar power, particularly when it involves major forces like the military, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing solar power benefit these California bases. For more information about the DoD’s study, see this recent press release.