Currently, the U.S. Army’s electricity generators are largely dependent on oil. This is the reason why Uncle Sam plans to install solar powered microgrids in Afghanistan in order to reduce its energy-related vulnerabilities in the field.
The solar microgrids will be also have backup diesel generators that will be able to communicate with each other to only generate the amount of energy that’s needed, saving on fuel. As the officials said, one microgrid will be capable of generating as much as one megawatt. This way it will replace 22 smaller diesel units, cutting fuel use and making maintenance easier.
The solar powered systems will include equipment to integrate the energy coming from storage systems and solar panels. One of the Army’s goal is to have modular systems where different sources of energy can be used.
“They’re being designed so that a soldier can just hook them up any way and plug things in and not have to worry about doing prior analysis of how the power grid should be laid out or what load should be placed where. The generators automatically talk to each other, recognize each other and can control each other without Soldier intervention,” said Chris Wildman, the Hybrid Intelligent Power program leader, in a statement.
This is not the only eco-friendly system used by the army. They’ve already tested solar-powered shade tents, and portable solar panels for soldiers, all made with the clear purpose of minimizing the amount of money spent on fuel.