As part of the U.S. Navy’s bid to utilize more renewable forms of energy, the military service is reportedly aiming to spend $100 million on new solar projects, one of which is to construct a new $1.9 million solar parking lot at the U.S Navy Seal Beach facility in California. With funding from the Federal Recovery Act, the new facility will hopefully save the base $30,000 each year in electrical costs, as well as create a host of new construction jobs.
It will not be the first solar installation that the Seal Beach facility will have seen, in fact it will be the third with Stronghold Engineering aiming to have the three systems total more than 2,000 solar panels and provide 6.5% of facility’s power needs. It will be a major boost to the Navy’s renewable efforts which aim to see an increase in renewable energy use of 7.5% by 2013, as laid out in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. If it continues at its current rate, it should meet that requirement with no problems.
The aim of a solar powered parking lot is to use the space that is taken up by unshaded asphalt parking lots. Instead of letting the sun roast vehicles in the open making them uncomfortable for the long drive home (as well as requiring air conditioning), solar parking lots aim to use the wasted energy to power nearby buildings or put it straight into the grid. They can also be utilized as charging stations for electric vehicles.
Using steel mounted photovoltaic panels, it is hoped that solar parking lots will not only increase construction jobs, but also revive the struggling US steel industry. Other military branches are also planning similar projects with the National Guard developing solar parking lots as well as companies in the private sector (such as Dell utilizing solar trees at their headquarters in Texas).
Lead image from US Navy.mil