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Military Photovoltaic Applications
Industrialized countries have been utilizing solar electricity
for mobile/portable power since 1984
· $3.6 million capabilities contract from the Naval Air
Warfare Center to build the world's largest off-grid solar electric
system. Photocomm was on-schedule with the Navy's timeline to
build the large PV-hybrid generating plant, with back-up diesel
power. The 290 kWp photovoltaic contribution is larger than any
comparable installation worldwide.
The U.S Coast guard continues purchasing PV modules (since 1987).
Modules must meet the physical, electrical and environmental characteristics
set forth in the U.S. Coast Guard's Specification No. 401, including
the severe Pressure Immersion Temperature (PIT) cycling test developed
by the Coast Guard to simulate unique environmental conditions
present in the offshore marine environment).
EXAMPLE: As early as 1985, solar specialists manufactured trailer-mounted
photovoltaic generators for the U.S. Navy used to power communication
equipment at various remote military sites. Delivered to China
Lake Naval Weapons Center (NWC) in California. A cost effective
alternative to diesel generator sets, the annual maintenance cost
of each mobile PV generator is $600 per year, compared to fuel
and maintenance costs of more than $15,000 for a remote diesel
generator. Each of the NWC's trailer-mounted systems includes
a PV array, battery bank, power inverter, controls, meters and
cable. The complete system can be deployed by two men in less
than two hours and withstands 120 miles per hour wind loading.
The U.S. Army's MANPAC line of mobile mobile equipment has spurred
PV manufacturers and distributors to create specially matched
PV components and control packages.
U.S. Department of Defence, in conjunction with aerospace project,
has utilized photovoltaic power since the earliest satellite missions.
High efficiency gallium arsenide cells have been widely used in
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