Army Base Takes a Shine to Solar

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The Army’s second largest installation, Fort Bliss, Texas, will soon have the Department of Defense’s largest renewable power project.

A 20-megawatt solar power plant will make use of the sun that normally just broils soldiers necks while on the march. The $120 million project will be a collaboration with El Paso Solar and will power Fort Bliss’ headquarters as well as other areas.

“This is the largest solar project at any installation to date in (the Defense Department). We are very, very proud of that,” Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, commander of Fort Bliss, in a press release. “It is exciting to be leading the American military in renewable energy, (and) reducing our carbon footprint.”

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When the 20-megawatt solar farm goes online in 2015 it will join two other solar arrays already installed at the fort.

Fort Bliss can also brag about the 14,700 trees soldiers have planted on their grounds, as well as a recycling program that earned $1 million last year. Pittard stated that he hopes to eventually make the fort “Net Zero,” meaning it will produce all the electricity it uses.

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“The solar farm, along with our environment campaign plan, are both part of a larger effort to make Fort Bliss the most fit, most healthy, most resilient community in America that is environmentally sound and is best at preparing soldiers and units for combat,” Pittard said.

IMAGE: Army Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, commanding general of the 1st Armored Division (Department of Defense, Wikimedia Commons)

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