Army installs its largest solar renewable energy system

The U.S. Army has installed its largest solar photovoltaic system - a 4-megawatt fixture at the White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico.

The U.S. Army has installed its largest solar renewable energy system - a 4-megawatt fixture at the White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico. According to an Army release, the solar energy system should generate about 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually and save the military an estimated $930,000 a year.

"This is an exciting project for the U.S. Army," said Garrison Commander Col. Leo Pullar. "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."

The $16.8 million system includes 15,500 solar panels on 42 acres of land. Construction began in April 2012 and was completed in December of the same year. The ground-mounted single-axis Solaria tracking system follows the sun across the sky, increasing energy yield by up to 30 percent over fixed systems. The electricity generated by the solar system will be enough to power about 10 percent of the Army's missile range.

The Army has also installed solar and wind energy systems at Fort Huachuca in Arizona and a biomass system at Fort Stewart in Georgia and Red River Army Depot in Texas.

Solar power in the United States is explored at PennEnergy's research area.

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