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Clean Power Carport-style solar installations like this are in the works for the New Jersey National Guard

Published on July 18th, 2009 | by Tina Casey

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New Jersey National Guard Gets Solar Parking

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July 18th, 2009 by
 
Carport-style solar installations like this are in the works for the New Jersey National Guard

U.S. military installations in New Jersey are going solar thanks to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is building carport-style solar arrays the size of football fields over parking lots at two New Jersey National Guard buildings.  Once completed, the two solar arrays will generate almost 480 kilowatts.  One building will get 40% of its summertime energy needs from its solar parking lot, another will get 80%.  Together they will save the Guard about $466,000.  Even better, by building two of the first solar parking lots in New Jersey, the Guard has set the stage for transforming the state’s vast sea of open asphalt into a rich natural resource.

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New Jersey, The National Guard and Solar Power

With electricity rates that are among the nation’s highest, New Jersey is a prime candidate for alternative energy investment, and the state has not disappointed.  New Jersey is second only to California in solar installations, with over 3900 so far including the U.S.’s largest rooftop solar array in Atlantic City.  The New Jersey National Guard was an early participant in the state’s groundbreaking Solar Renewable Energy Certificate program, which lets solar owners profit from the energy they generate.  According to the U.S. Army Environmental Command, the Guard has already asked the Corps of Engineers to construct more solar projects in addition to the two solar parking lots, which are underway at the Joint Forces Headquarters at Fort Dix and the National Training Facility Headquarters at Sea Girt.

The U.S. Military and Solar Power

The U.S. military has entered the solar market from every angle – even in the sky, with a solar powered blimp in the works.  Also underway is a lightweight portable solar mat for use in the field.  Perhaps the most interesting development is the military’s use of solar power as a sustainable strategy for rebuilding and stabilizing war-torn communities.  In Baghdad alone, the U.S. military has sponsored solar projects by the dozen, including a large array for a neighborhood clinic.

New Jersey Parking Lots and Solar Power

Regardless of its vanguard record on land preservation, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the U.S.  In a few years it is likely to become the first state to face buildout – the end of available undeveloped land.  By adding another obstacle to the construction of new power generating plants, buildout could curb the state’s long term economic prospects, or force it to import more energy.  On the other hand, buildout could provide further impetus for a more sustainable approach to energy generation within the state.  The New Jersey National Guard has lead the way to just such an approach, by positioning its acres of asphalt as a natural resource.  Given New Jersey’s countless malls, corporate parks, school campuses, sports arenas, multiplexes, park-n-rides, and innumerable other car-friendly facilities, solar parking has a very bright future in the Garden State.

Image: Kevin Dooley at flickr.com.

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About the Author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



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  • jw

    IF ITS GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE NATIONAL GUARD WHY WONT THE GOVERNMENT, GIVE ME A BREAK ON RESIDENTIAL SOLAR,

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  • Uncle B

    Great! Next, need to conserve and respect the power we do have! Hidden from the general public, perhaps due to lack of interest, are newer developments in insulation and its science and technologies – even photos of small pieces of super insulation blocking torch flames from fingers are shown, but still, we need more information! Solar, plus super insulation together, negate the need for fusion and its waste products, and is in the sane direction for a clean America! The Einstein fridge needs developing too! Save even more precious energy this way! LED lights are already replacing incandescents giving huge energy savings for the same service! We will win the energy battle, one small technology at a time – scrap your V-8 , go to a four, consider the 40 % more efficient Euro-diesels or hybrid, walk, bus, and train when you can, and keep foreign oil fortunes low, America rich! We need to “alter” a few habits, but the oil barons still hang on, with huge lobbies, that kill good ideas like Algae based bio-diesel! The war for energy is being fought on home ground by the peons and we will win!Our sons and daughters, dying in foreign land for the “Halliburtons” of the world, is a short term folly! Afghanistan, as a pipe conduit for Turkmenistan oil invites war with China who, in the end, claim it for themselves! How stupid! After losing the oil in Iraq to the free world market, we are going to “Liberate” half a goddamn continent of worthless desert to put one small pipe into one of China’s prize possessions, the oil basin starting in Turkmenistan and extending into China! Not Smart at all!

  • Uncle B

    Great! Next, need to conserve and respect the power we do have! Hidden from the general public, perhaps due to lack of interest, are newer developments in insulation and its science and technologies – even photos of small pieces of super insulation blocking torch flames from fingers are shown, but still, we need more information! Solar, plus super insulation together, negate the need for fusion and its waste products, and is in the sane direction for a clean America! The Einstein fridge needs developing too! Save even more precious energy this way! LED lights are already replacing incandescents giving huge energy savings for the same service! We will win the energy battle, one small technology at a time – scrap your V-8 , go to a four, consider the 40 % more efficient Euro-diesels or hybrid, walk, bus, and train when you can, and keep foreign oil fortunes low, America rich! We need to “alter” a few habits, but the oil barons still hang on, with huge lobbies, that kill good ideas like Algae based bio-diesel! The war for energy is being fought on home ground by the peons and we will win!Our sons and daughters, dying in foreign land for the “Halliburtons” of the world, is a short term folly! Afghanistan, as a pipe conduit for Turkmenistan oil invites war with China who, in the end, claim it for themselves! How stupid! After losing the oil in Iraq to the free world market, we are going to “Liberate” half a goddamn continent of worthless desert to put one small pipe into one of China’s prize possessions, the oil basin starting in Turkmenistan and extending into China! Not Smart at all!

  • Uncle B

    Great! Next, need to conserve and respect the power we do have! Hidden from the general public, perhaps due to lack of interest, are newer developments in insulation and its science and technologies – even photos of small pieces of super insulation blocking torch flames from fingers are shown, but still, we need more information! Solar, plus super insulation together, negate the need for fusion and its waste products, and is in the sane direction for a clean America! The Einstein fridge needs developing too! Save even more precious energy this way! LED lights are already replacing incandescents giving huge energy savings for the same service! We will win the energy battle, one small technology at a time – scrap your V-8 , go to a four, consider the 40 % more efficient Euro-diesels or hybrid, walk, bus, and train when you can, and keep foreign oil fortunes low, America rich! We need to “alter” a few habits, but the oil barons still hang on, with huge lobbies, that kill good ideas like Algae based bio-diesel! The war for energy is being fought on home ground by the peons and we will win!Our sons and daughters, dying in foreign land for the “Halliburtons” of the world, is a short term folly! Afghanistan, as a pipe conduit for Turkmenistan oil invites war with China who, in the end, claim it for themselves! How stupid! After losing the oil in Iraq to the free world market, we are going to “Liberate” half a goddamn continent of worthless desert to put one small pipe into one of China’s prize possessions, the oil basin starting in Turkmenistan and extending into China! Not Smart at all!

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  • Matt Kupiec

    The article explains the purpose and eventual cost savings of the solar arrays but does not mention the total construction or annual maintenance costs for them or how many years it will take before the estimated cost savings are seen.

    Do we know the answers to these questions?

    Thank you

  • Matt Kupiec

    The article explains the purpose and eventual cost savings of the solar arrays but does not mention the total construction or annual maintenance costs for them or how many years it will take before the estimated cost savings are seen.

    Do we know the answers to these questions?

    Thank you

  • Robert Lynch

    Fantastic: Please give us details as to supplier and payback time on investments. I see doing this type of solar power on all large buildings, and expecially

    large vacant buildings.

    I was in New Jersey looking to supply funding for

    renovating the large shipbuilding buildings left vacant in the last 40 years. What a wonderful use

    of vacant roof tops.

    Bob Lynch, Energy Engineer

  • Robert Lynch

    Fantastic: Please give us details as to supplier and payback time on investments. I see doing this type of solar power on all large buildings, and expecially

    large vacant buildings.

    I was in New Jersey looking to supply funding for

    renovating the large shipbuilding buildings left vacant in the last 40 years. What a wonderful use

    of vacant roof tops.

    Bob Lynch, Energy Engineer

  • Robert Lynch

    Fantastic: Please give us details as to supplier and payback time on investments. I see doing this type of solar power on all large buildings, and expecially

    large vacant buildings.

    I was in New Jersey looking to supply funding for

    renovating the large shipbuilding buildings left vacant in the last 40 years. What a wonderful use

    of vacant roof tops.

    Bob Lynch, Energy Engineer

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