Fort Carson signs up for biggest solar power operation in US Army

ABC News, Channel 7 (Denver): Green has been the Army’s color for years. Now the service is trying to go green, from a Colorado base to the battlefield.On Monday, the Army will dedicate a solar power station at sprawling Fort Carson, south of Colorado Springs. The solar station — the largest of any Army base in the country — will provide 2 megawatts of power, enough to supply 540 homes or more than 2 percent of the base’s power consumption.Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, a strong supporter of renewable energy, awarded Fort Carson an “excellence in renewable energy award” Thursday in part for its solar efforts. “DartJavaScriptPosition”, “square”, { “abr”: “”, “addlSz”: “”, “adId”: “false”, “adParent”: “adsquare”, “adServer”: “”, “adZone”: “”, “adType”: “adj”, “beginDate”: “”, “dcAdPosition”: “”, “dcopt”: “”, “endDate”: “”, “excludeCategory”: “”, “iframeWidth”: “300”, “keyName”: “”, “name”: “square”, “ord”: 0, “pageType”: “detail”, “pTile”: “”, “qString”: “”, “retroQueryString”: “”, “segQS”: “”, “siteLifeUser”: “false”, “sz”: “300×250”, “tile”: 1, “useSection”: “news”, “useId”: “15033470” } );

Similar projects are planned for other army bases, said Thomas Warren, who has held several titles at Fort Carson, including director of environmental compliance and management.Karen Linne, a Fort Carson spokeswoman, said the Army hopes to save about $300,000 in energy bills over a 17-year contract with providers involved in the project, including Xcel Energy, Colorado Springs Utilities and the Western Area Power Administration.Being environmentally sensitive is serious business, even in wartime, Warren said.”Fort Carson kind of works from the perspective that by being a leader, you help others to be aware,” he said.In Iraq, troops have been using portable solar chargers made by Konarka Technologies of Lowell, Mass. The lightweight chargers are used for laptops and other electronic gear. According to news reports, commanders in Iraq say they work so well they want more.Konarka also is designing so-called “net-zero” buildings that generate their own power, according to its Web site.Konarka spokeswoman Tracy Wemett declined to go into detail about military operations.But she said the company’s solar technology will become available this year to the public and could be used in a myriad of ways, ranging from umbrellas, to awnings to tents to roofs. The materials would generate power that could be used by devices underneath them.”Imagine a world without wires,” she said.Laptops could be made of material that produces the energy that runs them.”I think solar power is showing its viability, and if there’s any institution that needs to reduce its energy consumption, it’s the military,” said Craig Cox of the Interwest Energy Alliance, a trade group that advocates renewable power.”I think it shows that they (the Army) see great potential for solar. Certainly they may find applications for battlefield use and reducing our supply lines,” said Cox.Cox said Western states, including Colorado, are leading the nation in the use of renewable energy. In March, Ritter signed into law a bill requiring utilities to derive 20 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020.


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