Solar energy arrived at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii recently with the installation of 2.4 megawatts worth of solar panels courtesy of SolarWorld USA, and Oregon-based company with the largest solar PV production facility in the Americas.
Sustainable energy resources have been at the forefront of recent U.S. military initiatives. And in a place like Pearl Harbor, Oahu, why not use the power of the sun?
On a recent visit to the new solar installation sites at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, SolarWorld spokesperson Ben Santarris said,
“The light’s intensity [at Pearl Harbor] was blinding, oppressive. More than at any other solar project I have seen, I had a visceral sense of confronting a technology that was directly harvesting a mother lode of energy.”
In total, solar panels now grace the rooftops of five buildings at the base, producing 3.4 gigawatt-hours of power from the sun light – enough energy to power nearly 450 American homes every year. Here are some of the buildings that no feature solar panels:
- Headquarters building, constructed in the 1940s
- Navy Exchange shopping plaza, a commissary building
- On-base furniture distribution center
- Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, or the Paquet Hall
Incredible Pearl Harbor trivia: the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ) was one of the few buildings that survived that attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 unscratched. The BEQ is located almost dead center of the base, near the ship yards where battleships like USS Arizona and USS Missouri were hit.
Incorporating local, environmentally responsible energy for all military bases, the U.S. Defense Department aims to achieve sustainable operations at all military bases.
It’s a big step, but the installation at Pearl Harbor marks a milestone: it’s one of the biggest solar panel military projects so far. A remarkable feat that’s fitting for America’s sunniest state, Hawaii.
The future looks bright.