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US Naval Station Pt. Loma with solar panels  (Source: Independent Energy Solutions)

  (Source: Industrial Interface)
Five contracts awarded to firms

The U.S. Navy has committed $100 million in contracts for the development and installation of solar arrays at facilities in five U.S. states for both the Navy and Marine Corps.

The U.S. Armed Forces are not new to the application of greener technology. Recently, the Army has began developing and applying hydrogen fuel cell technology to their vehicles and also has HP developing a "Dick Tracy-like" watch that uses solar panels specifically for the U.S. military. 

The Navy has been using solar power as far back as 2002, when they installed a 750-kilowatt solar system in San Diego, California, which was considered the largest federal solar system. The system could power 935 homes during the day. As early as January of this year, the Navy also applied solar energy five rooftops at the Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii.

Now, the Navy is taking their dedication to renewable energy a step further by spending $100 million on five contracts that will apply solar arrays to facilities in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Arizona for the Navy and the Marine Corps. 

One of the five firms that won contracts for this operation is AECOM Technology Corporation, a global provider of management and technical support services for both government and commercial clients, was selected by the U.S. Navy to fulfill an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, allowing AECOM to develop the solar power systems.

"The U.S. federal government views renewable energy as an important strategic goal to improve environmental performance, reduce energy costs and enhance energy security at multiple levels," said said John M. Dionisio, AECOM president and chief executive officer. "We are proud to be selected by the U.S. Navy for this important assignment."

AECOM will be teaming up with Solar Power Partners (SPP) during this time. The contract has one base year and four option years, and states that AECOM is to provide "engineering, procurement and construction" of the solar systems while SPP is to finance and own the solar arrays. 

The AECOM-SPP teamup is only one of five firms to receive contracts, which are a total of $100 million in value, and the contractors can "compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the contract."

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What a crock
By Dorkyman on 7/28/2010 3:48:09 PM , Rating: 4
This is not the military's mission, and as such it represents a misdirection of assets. Solar is good for some applications but in general is not cost-effective.

RE: What a crock
By killerclick on 7/28/10, Rating: 0
RE: What a crock
By FITCamaro on 7/29/2010 9:44:12 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah and the government didn't buy or fund them either. Rich people did. Now I'm not against funding for solar energy research. But forcing the military to spend its ever more strained assets on solar energy means it has less money to spend on its purpose. Defense.

Now utilizing existing structures to mount solar panels in areas of the country which get a lot of sunlight year round can help save money over time. But if its somewhere that sees 4 months of snow and 3 months of heavy cloud cover and rain, its pointless.

RE: What a crock
By guacamojo on 7/29/2010 11:29:57 AM , Rating: 2
It wasn't just rich people. Our tax dollars paid for the improved roads for the cars to drive on.

Not saying solar is or isn't a good idea, just that government has definitely had a hand in steering past technologies, too.

RE: What a crock
By mellomonk on 7/28/2010 4:48:39 PM , Rating: 4
The US Military is one of the largest consumers of energy in the world. That consumption means a great deal of it's 'assets' are spent on fuel and power. Plus energy must be shipped in at great expense when in theater. The leadership made the wise decision to invest in alternative sources and renewables in order to enhance it's capabilities as well as forward the state of such technology for the general public. Solar and biofuels have all had massive interest from the military so obviously their calculus as to it's value is different from your own.

RE: What a crock
By wiz220 on 7/28/2010 5:26:51 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, the military would not be doing this for purely altruistic reasons. There is definitely a benefit for them from the standpoint of being prepared for energy shortages due to potential disruptions of traditional fuel sources. If it also helps further development of these technologies I see it as a tax payer two-for-one deal.

RE: What a crock
By Reclaimer77 on 7/28/10, Rating: 0
RE: What a crock
By killerclick on 7/28/2010 6:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it's not like this spending is useful as say invading Iraq!

RE: What a crock
By Kurz on 7/28/2010 10:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
Nice Stawman

RE: What a crock
By priusone on 7/28/2010 9:07:45 PM , Rating: 2
The Navy is using private contractors to build these things. The governments been talking about 'stimulus' jobs for a while now, well, here is an example.

Also, I wish like hell we had solar cells when I was deployed instead of power being on for half an hour a day, and the one in ten chance we were actually there during that period.

RE: What a crock
By Kurz on 7/28/2010 10:58:00 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm... it would be nice to have electricity on a forward base.

Though these jobs will come and go as soon as funding stops.

RE: What a crock
By surt on 7/29/2010 1:24:21 AM , Rating: 2
Are you kidding? The military is actually the one part of our government that should really care about oil independence. They need to be able to keep fighting even if all of our supply lines are cut off.

RE: What a crock
By Reclaimer77 on 7/29/2010 1:54:26 AM , Rating: 2
lol right, we're going to "fight" with solar tech!??!?

Solar powered ships coming soon, GREAT for night missions!

RE: What a crock
By FITCamaro on 7/29/2010 9:58:02 AM , Rating: 2
Ever heard of the national strategic reserve?

And we wouldn't have to rely on foreign sources if we developed our own energy resources more. Furthermore, if it really came down to it, the American people would get cut off before the military. We do produce oil in this country. The government would merely buy all the supply. Also, our main source of oil is Canada. Its highly unlikely we'll be going to war with them any time soon.

The military would be far better off building small nuclear plants to power its bases and then sell the excess power to the local population. This way the military could actually make money off its power generation. Now biofuel usage makes sense. Because it has the potential of being feasible. Solar power isn't a bad idea for bases in a desert(at least during the daytime). But are we really going to invest the money in solar for a temporary base? Honestly I'd rather see small, portable nuclear reactors developed. They already have ones you can bury in the ground and which last like 25-30 years with no maintenance. Use one of those. When its time to leave, dig it up and take it home. Or just dig it up, remove the nuclear fuel, and destroy it. Better than building a solar plant that's far larger, far more vulnerable to attack, and doesn't work at night.

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