The military has a few of the United States’ largest sun lit areas in its administration. A recent study, performed by ICF International and funded from military money, revealed that seven bases in California and two bases in Nevada could produce some 7 GW of electricity and could ease the load put on taxpayers’ pockets.
The year-long study took into account only 4 percent of the total surface area owned by these bases, because the rest is either used by specific military applications or can’t be used due to the bad environmental impact a solar installation could have and lots of different other reasons.
However, the military already has mandate to produce clean energy and cut its carbon footprint up to 28 percent by 2020. The $4 billion it spends on electricity annually could therefore be cut.
The best areas that solar power could be implemented on are at Edwards Air Force Base (24,327 acres), followed by Fort Irwin (18,728 acres), China Lake (6,777) and Twentynine Palms (553 acres).
Traditionally, the military haven’t had much flair when it came to negotiation, so contractors avoided dealing with them in the past. For that matter, 2011 brought them a new Energy Initiatives Office Task Force, whose personnel is able to negotiate with private parties potential contracts that may lead to the generation of clean energy for military purpose and to lower the huge annual electricity bill.
I don’t think that the fore-mentioned space will also be used for providing electricity to civilians, but it may be a playground for the solar generation technology and the energy storage technology to prosper in military hands.