Military ‘Battle Lab’ Cashes In On Solar Savings

No one ever said training for battle was easy, nor energy-efficient. The “Battle Lab” is a U.S. military facility in New Jersey where more than 20,000 soldiers prepare and train for battle. The lab includes shooting ranges, vehicle rollover trainers and other high-tech simulators. But those high-tech tools suck up millions of kilowatts of power.

Now, more than a quarter of the training facility’s power is being provided by renewable energy sources. The Army Corps of Engineers along with the help of contractor P & S Construction helped complete a solar power project onsite at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Photovoltaic solar panels were mounted to the roof of the Battle Lab, covering approximately 71,000 square feet.

solar base new jersey battle lab

image via U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen

“This new array along with the pre-existing array is doubling the amount of energy that is being produced for the lab,” said Jose Diaz, a project manager in the Army Corps. “Together they are providing nearly 30 percent of the lab’s annual energy needs and saving the National Guard and taxpayers’ approximately $118,000 annually.”

Along with saving on building-energy costs, the military is also realizing another benefit from the solar installation by sending excess power produced back to the public power grid. New Jersey offers a solar renewable energy certificate program. Under the program, solar owners who generate more than 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year to the public power grid are rewarded with a renewable energy credit, which can be sold for cash. Thanks to the program, the New Jersey National Guard expects to make somewhere between $100,000-$140,000 in extra income each year. The Guard plans to reinvest the money to fund additional energy saving projects at other Army National Guard locations throughout New Jersey.

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.