Army Tests Solar Power Tarps to Save Energy

Solar Power Tent

The United States Army is looking to move toward a more energy-efficient future. They are working on some energy efficient projects that include making advancements on their “Force Provider” tents. The next generation of the tents will have rigid walls instead of flexible material and work in conjunction with solar powered tarps.

The “tents” the Army has developed are more like shipping containers made from rigid but lightweight material. The design uses insulation with an R-Value of around 12, adding to the efficiency of the shelter. Other energy saving features include:Force Provider

• LED lighting
• Motion detecting switches
• Water efficient laundry systems
• Water efficient latrines
• Water efficient shower heads
• Waterless urinals
• Rain water collection systems
• Shower water reuse systems

Rounding out the energy efficient features is the solar powered canopies that provide shade and energy to the shelters. The tarps are fitted with solar panels that supply energy to a smart microgrid that uses battery storage. The canopy structure also provides shade to the shelter when the sun is strong, lowering the amount of cooling needed.

The rigid wall system could also help provide additional savings, because it enables shelters to pull double duty as platforms for other elements of a base camp. The Army’s development team is also working on a kit that would allow fighting positions to be built on top of a shelter.

The new advancements on the Force Provider will allow for energy and water savings between 35 and 75 percent. This will reduce the need for risking soldiers on fuel and water convoys and bringing down operating costs.

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