Gitmo Gits Solar, So Navy Uses Less Diesel

Back in 2009, the U.S. Navy set a goal [PDF] of cutting its fossil fuel dependence in half by 2020 and, as one would expect from a highly disciplined group of people, it’s been making moves to achieve that goal ever since. As part of that effort, the Navy is harnessing the hot Cuban sun to produce energy for the Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In collaboration with Tampa-based Solar Source, military personnel will enjoy hot showers and treadmills courtesy of the 1,200 panel solar installation that powers the new fitness center.

Solar Source said it engineered, sourced and constructed the ground-mount system which was no simple feat. Installing the ground-mount solar power system into the dense shell and rock ground took a bit of expertise and oomph in the form of giant six-foot screws and custom augers. The 300-kilowatt (kW) installation is the largest solar array in Cuba.

Guantanamo Bay Solar Array

image via Solar Source

While the solar installation is a move to reduce environmental impact, it also provides some logistical benefits. Guantanamo Bay’s military base has been producing its own electricity since the 1960s, when Rear Admiral John Bulkeley led the charge to become independent of Cuba’s water and power supply. However, their system of using diesel fuel shipped from overseas made electricity quite expensive and far from eco-friendly. The new 300-kW solar array is one step to produce energy locally, reduce costs and lighten the base’s carbon footprint.

Beyond the solar array, the naval base is also working to conserve energy on the base through “mock utility bills” and using vehicles powered by alternative fuels.

Angeli Duffin is a Midwest transplant currently living in San Francisco, CA. Kicking off her career doing product design and development with Fair Trade artisans around the world, she then moved on to the editorial side, writing for eBay’s Green Team blog and working as a marketing consultant for social and environmentally minded companies

    • not surprised

      USA helps themselves instead of their people, AGAIN!

      •  Since the government is owned by the people this improvement is helping the people.  You must not be an American or don’t understand the American government.

    • Pfiddle

      Any step to cut back on fossil fuel must be applauded. I love the idea of billing. It helps focus the mind greatly.
      I can never understand why PV isn’t used to power AirCo considering to obvious correlation.

    • Elaine Wood 420 68 8239

      Gentlemen: 1 Pls advise the administration (owners) Mr. & Mrs. Raymond DeLeon  Arlington Expressway Serice Road Jacksonville FL of the stateside app for this 2 if it works there why should the detainees have what our citizens require? assistantd1@live.com

      • Elaine Wood 420 68 8239

        3 is this app completely transferable stateside? Jacksonville FL 32211

      • Pete

        Hi Elaine,

        Yes, this is common technology widely in use in the United States. As for its use “by detainees” at Guantanamo Bay, I suppose the detainees do use some electricity, but they would do so whether it is solar generated or from some other means. And it’s worth noting that there are fewer than 200 detainees at the base and more than 6,000 troops, who of course require power for their homes, offices, etc.