U.S. Army unveils its largest photovoltaic solar project in New Mexico

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen January 17, 2013 0
The U.S. Army is relying on solar panels at a base in New Mexico that rotate with the movements of the sun.
The U.S. Army is relying on solar panels at a base in New Mexico that rotate with the movements of the sun.

In past articles, we’ve looked at ways in which the U.S. military is utilizing green technology and renewable energy resources to generate clean electricity. On January 16, the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center announced that it had collaborated with contractor Siemens Government Technologies, Inc. to create the largest solar panel array at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

This installation, which will provide significant yearly savings to this branch of the armed forces, is the largest of its kind currently in operation by the U.S. military. Capable of producing 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, the setup is expected to save the the base up to $930,000 in annual operating costs. Additionally, it will enable the U.S. Army to offset approximately 7,400 tons of carbon dioxide during the same period.

What makes the White Sands array so unique is that it employs a ground-mounted tracking system. This network of sensors automatically adjusts the position of the solar panels so that they continue to absorb sunlight efficiently throughout the day. According to a press release from the Army, this technology is estimated to boost productivity by 30 percent compared to traditional solar arrangements.

“This is an exciting project for the U.S. Army,” White Sands Garrison Commander Colonel Leo Pullar was quoted as saying in a statement. “A sunny location like New Mexico provides an ideal site for solar power. This project illustrates the U.S. Army’s commitment to going green, our focus on operating on net zero energy, and doing what we can to help protect the environment.”

With construction completed in December 2012, the $16.8 million solar array is already fully operational and providing clean energy to the military installation. Readers should stick with LifeIsGreen.com for more updates and news on the spread of green power sources in the United States.

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