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Geothermal Energy solar array

Published on October 7th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

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US Army Wants to Build World's Most Powerful Solar Array



solar array

Despite its recent foray into sustainable practices, the United States Army isn’t known as an environmental leader. Now the Army is trying to prove its greenness with the world’s strongest solar array. Yesterday, the Army announced that it plans to construct a 500 MW solar thermal plant in the Mojave Desert at Fort Irwin. Currently, the United States’ largest solar array is a 15 MW plant at Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas.

According to yesterday’s press release, the Fort Irwin array will “provide renewable power on the grid and provide the sprawling Army post with added energy security against disruption of power supply.”

Unfortunately, the press release does not specify a time frame for the project. We’re left to wonder if the array is an empty promise meant to quell concerns about the Army’s massive energy consumption.

The Army also announced yesterday that it plans to buy 4,000 electric vehicles for maintenance staff, enter into a pilot energy savings performance contract with the private sector, and develop a 30 MW geothermal project in Nevada.

Photo Credit: Wired

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • Uncle B

    Is this the same U.S. Army that promised America the conquest of Iraq in a year? Same guys mired in Afghanistan? Sorry folks but you will never see practical cost efficient Solar from these bungling assholes, not in decades of huge money allotments! They do things in such a manner – so “Cost-Plus” as to fail every fvcking mission they touch! These assholes require $6000.00 “fire-ignitors” to light a goddammit campfire where a match and some Boy Scout know-how would do! They spend $400.00 a gallon for fuel in Afghanistan running half-tracks just to prove they can! They are the biggest farce the world has ever seen backed down by untrained turban topped illiterates every time they fire a shot! The proof is in the pudding! Watch these assholes louse up Afghanistan and leave a worse mess than when they came, if they don’t make a career out of it and stay forever, at our expense, canteens flowing with beer, free food and medals, pensions, for all! These assholes lost in Vietnam – tell the truth! Our flag does not fly there! They screwed up in Iraq and we still have to beg at world prices for oil we conquered for $650 Billions of our Dollars placed in their pockets – cheaper to buy it in the first place! Assholes! and they will occupy Afghanistan until their sons and daughters get medals and pensions, medals from that “engagement” – more like a “marriage of convenience” if you ask me! Brace yourselves America! Grease up your own tender spots before you salute that flag! This costs big money! Generals need futures too! They call soldiering “Careers in the Army” now, and they mean to keep it that way, goddammit! Don’t hardly blame em, no such job security states-side is there? Solar development at Army costs! I call Bull Shiite! more like government hand-out to sustain current staff to a comfortable retirement!

  • Uncle B

    Is this the same U.S. Army that promised America the conquest of Iraq in a year? Same guys mired in Afghanistan? Sorry folks but you will never see practical cost efficient Solar from these bungling assholes, not in decades of huge money allotments! They do things in such a manner – so “Cost-Plus” as to fail every fvcking mission they touch! These assholes require $6000.00 “fire-ignitors” to light a goddammit campfire where a match and some Boy Scout know-how would do! They spend $400.00 a gallon for fuel in Afghanistan running half-tracks just to prove they can! They are the biggest farce the world has ever seen backed down by untrained turban topped illiterates every time they fire a shot! The proof is in the pudding! Watch these assholes louse up Afghanistan and leave a worse mess than when they came, if they don’t make a career out of it and stay forever, at our expense, canteens flowing with beer, free food and medals, pensions, for all! These assholes lost in Vietnam – tell the truth! Our flag does not fly there! They screwed up in Iraq and we still have to beg at world prices for oil we conquered for $650 Billions of our Dollars placed in their pockets – cheaper to buy it in the first place! Assholes! and they will occupy Afghanistan until their sons and daughters get medals and pensions, medals from that “engagement” – more like a “marriage of convenience” if you ask me! Brace yourselves America! Grease up your own tender spots before you salute that flag! This costs big money! Generals need futures too! They call soldiering “Careers in the Army” now, and they mean to keep it that way, goddammit! Don’t hardly blame em, no such job security states-side is there? Solar development at Army costs! I call Bull Shiite! more like government hand-out to sustain current staff to a comfortable retirement!

  • russ

    Don’t forget – the key phrase the writer wanted to get out was,

    “Unfortunately, the press release does not specify a time frame for the project. We’re left to wonder if the array is an empty promise meant to quell concerns about the Army’s massive energy consumption.”

    Accuracy or anything else had nothing to do with the article – only the dig.

  • russ

    Don’t forget – the key phrase the writer wanted to get out was,

    “Unfortunately, the press release does not specify a time frame for the project. We’re left to wonder if the array is an empty promise meant to quell concerns about the Army’s massive energy consumption.”

    Accuracy or anything else had nothing to do with the article – only the dig.

  • Josh Monroe

    Todd, I am glad that you pointed that out. I was just about to do that.

    Solar PV may work great if you are looking to put something on your roof and generate some electricity. However, Solar Thermal methods are much cheaper to build and are actually viable for large-scale, centrally generated power generation.

  • Josh Monroe

    Todd, I am glad that you pointed that out. I was just about to do that.

    Solar PV may work great if you are looking to put something on your roof and generate some electricity. However, Solar Thermal methods are much cheaper to build and are actually viable for large-scale, centrally generated power generation.

  • Josh Monroe

    Todd, I am glad that you pointed that out. I was just about to do that.

    Solar PV may work great if you are looking to put something on your roof and generate some electricity. However, Solar Thermal methods are much cheaper to build and are actually viable for large-scale, centrally generated power generation.

  • http://push.pickensplan.com/profiles/blog/list?user=hgtbcg4cv2og Todd McKissick

    “Yesterday, the Army announced that it plans to construct a 500 MW solar thermal plant in the Mojave Desert at Fort Irwin. ”

    Why show a picture of solar PV? Why not show a picture of a banana plantation? That has the same relevance to solar thermal since it turns sunlight into ‘energy’. It’s about time the press started digging deeper into these issues and learn the vast differences between these two technologies. …Like how only one is viable and economic for a project of this size.

  • http://push.pickensplan.com/profiles/blog/list?user=hgtbcg4cv2og Todd McKissick

    “Yesterday, the Army announced that it plans to construct a 500 MW solar thermal plant in the Mojave Desert at Fort Irwin. ”

    Why show a picture of solar PV? Why not show a picture of a banana plantation? That has the same relevance to solar thermal since it turns sunlight into ‘energy’. It’s about time the press started digging deeper into these issues and learn the vast differences between these two technologies. …Like how only one is viable and economic for a project of this size.

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