The U.S. Navy is getting serious about solar energy and has just awarded five contracts worth up to $100 million for the design, installation and management of solar arrays at Navy and Marine Corps facilities in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. This is by no means the first foray into solar power for the Navy, which was installing solar arrays at least as far back as 2002 and recently installed a solar roof at Pearl Harbor, but it does indicate a significant ramping up in terms of pace and scale.
With our military adopting safe, renewable solar power hand over fist, it will be that much harder on the fossil fuel industry to get the American public to continue accepting coal, oil, and gas resources that are proving to be more dangerous and unreliable than the U.S. can tolerate. The latest disasters – a new oil spill in coastal Louisiana and an oil spill in Michigan that could be among the worst ever for the Midwest – are just further proof that it’s time to let go of the past and embrace the future.
More Solar Power for the U.S. Navy
One of the five contracts went to AECOM Technology Corporation. It involves an installation arrangement with Solar Power Partners, a leader in the solar power purchase agreement (PPA) field. The PPA arrangement basically enables customers to finance solar installations by agreeing to buy electricity generated by the installation. AECOM will provide engineering and construction services, Solar Power Partners will finance and own the systems, and the Navy and Marine facilities will be able to cut back on their use of fossil fuels.
More Renewable Energy for the Armed Forces
The Navy’s latest plunge into solar is just one example of an almost headlong rush by the Department of Defense to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. Another example is geothermal energy, which has opened up the potential for some facilities to shift into 100% renewable energy generated onsite, and even provide a surplus to the grid. With the U.S. military firmly on the side of clean energy, the fossil fuel industry looks increasingly desperate as it resorts to childish campaigns in support of its products, such as the notorious Clean Coal Carolers last year, and this year’s patronizing “grassroots” attemps such as FACES of Coal and CO2 is Green.
Image: U.S. Navy flight demo team by mashleymorgan on flickr.com.
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. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.