In a Forbes Op-Ed, retired Army General Wesley Clark, made a case for solar energy as a viable alternative to traditional fuel sources in military applications.
Here at home, virtually all military bases including Fort Irwin here in the California desert are shifting to solar energy in order to develop a more secure, on-site power supply that will increase resiliency and reduce dependence upon imports of fossil fuels from hostile countries.
Clark points out that the Defense Department has played a critical role in the past contributing to new consumer innovations, including the Internet, created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1969.
Thanks to support from the Defense Department and the U.S. Department of Energy, solar energy is achieving cost milestones that were unthinkable just a short time ago: a 75%price drop over the last three years.
Clark acknowledges that government subsidized solar industries in China and Europe have hurt U.S. manufacturers but says the increased attention has been "good for the broader industry."
The benefit to the military:
Already companies have designed solar photovoltaic systems that fit into the backpacks of U.S. soldiers for deployment in the battlefield, while thin films can be deployed on containers and rooftops at forward operating bases with considerable effect.
These systems offer a quiet, unobtrusive alternative to dirty and highly visible diesel generators that make targets out of our soldiers in Afghanistan.