Maj. Tim Franklin from the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command, who also serves as science and technology adviser to U.S. Army Africa, is the lead in coordinating an experiment using flexible solar cells that could eventually save millions in Army fuel costs. In fact, the project was recently nominated for recognition in the Annual Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Awards because of the more than $230,000 savings by using the solar shade.
The concept is simple -- flexible solar cells affixed to a sun shelter then connected to a system of storage batteries.
“Solar shade produces two kilowatts of power -- that may not seem like a lot, but in a remote area it’s perfect because you don’t have to worry about transporting fuel or replacing parts,” Franklin said. “You could place this on a remote mountain site to provide power for a radio retransmission site [since] it requires very little maintenance,” Franklin said.
After almost 250 days at sea, the world's largest solar-powered boat has made it half way around the globe to the shores of Brisbane, Australia, propelled by nothing but rays from the sun.
The 31-meter "Turanor", which more closely resembles the "Starship Enterprise" than a practical yacht, set sail from Monaco back in September 2010 on its voyage to become the first fully solar-powered vessel to circumnavigate the world.
"So far everything has gone according to plan," said the Swiss-born skipper and former mountain guide Raphael Domjan. "By making it this far we've already demonstrated the huge potential for high-performance solar mobility -- and we also hope we've inspired others to have more faith in renewables."
This is after the first solar-powered international flight a few weeks ago as well, and two major developments in solar energy (dual thermal/electric cells and much more efficient solar cells).