Harnessing energy from the sun makes a lot of sense in hot desert environments, and the U.S. military has taken advantage of solar technology in the past by developing energy generating solar backpacks and watches for its troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Recently the military announced its latest solar venture – a series of solar-powered tents that will be capable of powering communications devices as well as laptops and other electronic equipment, rendering ground units practically self-sufficient.

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The tents that the US Army is developing have been dubbed the Power Shade, the TEMPER Fly, and the QUADrant. They all come in different sizes with different generating capacities — the TEMPER Fly can produce about 800W of power, the QUADrant can generate about 200W of power, and the Power Shades is capable of generating up to 3KW of electrical power.

The tents’ solar cells will be based on thin film amorphous silicon, and while the U.S. Army’s press release doesn’t go into any details about their efficiency, one would expect the military to splurge on nothing less but top-of-the-line equipment. The tents stand to be extremely useful in areas like Afghanistan, where the sun doesn’t set until late in the evening.

“The technology has reached the point where the testing has shown they [solar-powered tents] are proven. Our teams have worked on the inverters and the durability of the systems. The durability of the tent covers has evolved to a point where we would like to see more of them deployed,” said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment.

Hammack added, “They are ideal for charging up batteries, making sure your (communications), night vision goggles and computers are powered up. You don’t want a generator on top of a mountain, and you don’t want to have to bring fuel to a generator or haul batteries.”

+ U.S. Army

Via Eco Friend

Images © US Army