The US Army is in discussions meant to set the details of implementing solar powered shades and tents. They could power the various communications equipment, laptops and other electronics soldiers may carry.
The most important thing, though, is that they don’t have to carry around generators and fuel, since sunlight is supposed to take care of all that. And Afghanistan is one of the best places to apply this technology, with sunlight everywhere until late.
“The technology has reached the point where the testing has shown they [solar-powered tents] are proven. Our teams have worked on the inverters and the durability of the systems. The durability of the tent covers has evolved to a point where we would like to see more of them deployed,” said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment.
The solar cell the Army wants to use is based on thin film amorphous silicon. The efficiency of these cells hasn’t been specified in the press release, but we suspect they may lie somewhere in the range of 8 to 12 percent, if not higher, judging by the way the Army buys things (expensively).
The tents that are about to be bought are called Power Shade, TEMPER Fly and QUADrant, come in different sizes and, of course, offer different power peaks. The TEMPER Fly, for example, has a nominal power output of 800W for a 16-by-20 foot structure, while the QUADrant only squeezes 200W.
The Power Shades are made specifically for higher powers and larger areas, thus offering a fully-portable 3 kW.
I always like news about the US Army going green, not because they really want to be green, but rather because being green offers them an advantage and flexibility. This kind of approach is also beneficial to the entire concept, as it proves it’s also practical to give up petrol, for any reason.
So it’s finally true… the Army is going greener than their outfits…