Solar Producer Joins Army’s Green Energy Push

Solar Producer Joins Army’s Green Energy Push

A San Francisco-based developer of solar and wind power is the latest company to join to the U.S. Army’s multi-billion-dollar alternative energy program.

Closely held Foresight Renewable Solutions LLC was awarded a contract “for use in completing and awarding power purchase agreement task orders” under a $7 billion Army program to buy renewable power from privately developed facilities, according to the Jan. 29 announcement.

The service last year announced several deals under the program, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Huntsville, Ala., as part of a larger Pentagon effort to derive 3 gigawatts of power — enough to power about 750,000 homes — from alternative sources such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal by 2025.


The Army’s so-called multiple-award contract includes a three-year base period and seven one-year options. Under these kinds of arrangements, companies win seats on the contract, then compete against each other for individual orders.

The award topped a list of 187 contracts with a combined value of more than $15.6 billion in January, according to a Military​.com analysis of the Pentagon’s daily contract announcements. However, excluding the previously announced Army deal, the value of the contracts totaled just $8.6 billion for the month — a 60 percent decrease from the average of the previous three months.

The contracting slide is in line with a broader, albeit more gradual, drop in defense spending, according to the Treasury Department.

From October through December, the Pentagon’s outlays in research and development and procurement totaled $43.3 billion — a 6 percent decrease from the same period a year earlier, according to a monthly statement prepared by Treasury’s Financial Management Service.

Wright & Wright Machinery Co., based in Monticello, Ky., beat out 17 other companies to win the Pentagon’s second-largest contract for the month, a potential $776 million deal with the Defense Logistics Agency for commercial construction equipment, according to the Jan. 28 announcement.

Bechtel Corp., the largest construction and engineering company in the U.S., took the third-largest defense contract in January, a nearly $600 million award with the Navy for nuclear propulsion components, according to the Jan. 14 announcement. The deal follows a $7 billion, multi-year deal in November to design nuclear propulsion systems for submarines and surface ships.

General Electric Co., one of the largest companies in the world, landed the fourth-largest military contract last month, a $573 million deal with the Navy to repair or replace components on 17 F414 engines on F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growler aircraft, according to the Jan. 2 announcement.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., part of Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies Corp., received the fifth-largest Pentagon contract in January, a $550 million agreement with the Army for 18 MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters and 19 MH-60R Seahawk choppers and associated services on behalf of the Navy, according to the Jan. 9 announcement.

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There’s nothing that says, “we are here” like acres and acres of solar panels. Maybe they could arrange them in an arrow shape so the enemy bombers know where to go.

I would doubt the solar farms are intended for very small, forward positions tha the enemy doesn’t know about. I’m sure the project is intended for large bases that suck a lot of energy. Think Nellis Air Force Base or Fort Sam Houston. If these are used abroad, I’m thinking it would also be large facilities, like Bagram Air Field. Installing some solar panels there isn’t going to ‘give away’ the location to the enemy.

Oh sure, a nice safe place like Bagram. I’m sure no one would ever try to put a mortar, RPG, or rocket through a solar farm at a place like that. They’d never spray a couple of clips worth of AK-47 bullets toward a huge target the size of the solar array it would take to power a place like Bagram. Oh hell no. That place was as safe as being in mother’s arms. I’ve heard of a lot of stupid things, but this one takes the cake. F’ing solar panels to power a base. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. Naturally there’s no name associated with this brilliant idea, but they’ll be more than happy to spend my tax dollars on this piece of crap.

Dfense,

I didn’t say that would put it at Bagram; I suggusted it would be used at large bases in the U.S. I did say that to the extent they use them overseas, it would be at large super-bases, not at some small base that the enemy wouldn’t even know about (but for the solar panels giving away the location).

Your original comment is actually the one that “takes the cake,” in terms of stupidity by suggesting that solar panels will give away locations of our bases to the enemy.

Why is the military not adding photovoltaic cells to the roofs of all their buildings especially in areas where there is a fair amount of sunshine? If the push that Obama has made was such a good idea for the civilians to do I would also think that would be a good idea for the military and there would not have to be any rebates to get the civilians to buy them.

I’m not too familiar with the latest generation of solar panels (I think they may now have anti-reflective coatings) but I wonder if the reflection off these things would be a problem if around an airbase. You obviously don’t want to blind pilots trying to land.

My guess would be given the scale it is more economical to erect solar farms that tie into the existing base power distribution system, than retrofitting and then maintaining hundreds of individual independent building systems.

It would make sense to have them at more remote bases. The more solar panels they have, the less convoys they need to run. The less convoys run means the less people die.

For the major bases that are back stateside, I am all for putting new generation Nuclear plants in.

There are a lot of green energy methods that I respect more than solar. My favorite is what the Germans have begun to do, — churn methane gas out of biowaste. Sustainable, cheap, and securable. As long as you can control the toxicity in the gas, you get two byproducts from the process — methane, which is obviously useful as an energy source. and great fertilizer, which you can sell to recoup your costs.

oh really? and relying on Diesel generators to power a major installation is better? you do realize that fuel has to be trucked in? I guess you’re going to volunteer to drive a truck will 10,000 gallons of JP-8 through IED laden roads? They may not be foolproof but renewables make a helluva lot of sense for COPs and FOBs. They are also a lot quieter, meaning the guys pulling security can actually hear whats going on around them and not be rendered deaf by a 6 liter diesel engine revving at 5000 rpm constantly. And when a Solar panel gets hit with a mortar it does not add fuel to the fire. fuel bladders have a nasty habit of giving the enemy a free upgrade on their purchase. while solar, wind and other renweables are not the end all be all solution, they are a great addition. anything that cuts down on the tail of the army is beneficial. Wars are won and lost in logistics as much as in weapons and training. The simple truth is in the economics. if your forward forces need fewer supplies or resupplies then they can maintain operations, when they are on hold because they can’t get supplies then they are just targets. Ask the Germans how waiting on fuel hurt them. talk to anyone with experience in armor and you’ll find out how frustrating it is having to sit and wait for fuel trucks. Talk to anyone who has lived on a COP and find out how much it sucks when you run out of diesel! thats not a suck you ever want to experience. because everything depends on that fuel. when its out so are your radios, so are you trucks. If you get attacked in that time you can’t retreat and you can’t call for help. So why exactly would you say that creating alternate options beyond the Diesel generator is dumb?

Well, if the enemy “Bombers” make it that far inland, we have bigger problems to worry about than solar panels showing them where we are.

Want to bet that they will have 100% backup from commercial power suppliers? And that the ability to be able to provide it means that the rest of the population will carry the cost of this emergency power, since it will not be used except when the solar system is in trouble. That reserve power will be subsidized by locals or in addition to the Sunshine.

I’ll bet they’ll have plenty of soldiers out there guarding this piece of crap though. Because that’s what every base needs, is a larger perimeter to guard.

Well, it’ll put the waste to good use; and after that you would probably have to use biochar to sterilize it.

Wonder when they’ll go back to small nuclear powerplants. It’ll have to be bigger than an RTG to power anything meaningful. Thorium?

“X producer joins Army’s Y push…”

Lawyer chases ambulance, as usual.

PV solar can help bases/power projection platforms cut operating costs and help achieve grid independence, when linked to microgrids and storage. Back in 2008, the Defense Science Board’s “More Fight, Less Fuel” called for ensuring our bases can run independently of the grid, and PV solar is a great tool to help get there. And through power purchase agreements, bases can get these benefits with little/no up front investment, while relying on third parties to own, operate, and maintain the PV systems. But PV solar also requires alot of space and is an intermittent generator. Balter is right — PV solar is not suited for forward locations — the Army is focusing on efficiency and tactical microgrids.

Hell yeah, the Army will be all set to invade Hawaii once they get these solar panels working. Of course, the Hawaiians will be pissed about that big dead spot in the jungle where the sunlight was blocked, but you’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Our army needs more great ideas like this to allow them the freedom to invade perfectly peaceful areas, because clearly the American public is stupid enough to let their tax dollars be wasted on crap like this.

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