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A construction worker installs solar panels on the sun shades in a motor pool at the Combat Center as part of an initiative to triple the amount of renewable energy the base uses.

Photo by courtesy photo

Sun shades provide perfect place for solar panels

30 Apr 2009 | Pfc. Michael T. Gams

In an initiative to triple the amount of renewable energy the Combat Center uses, the south-facing roofs above all motor pools in the main side of the base are being outfitted with solar panels.

The project, slated to be completed in eight months, was prompted by the Combat Center’s need to comply with the Secretary of the Navy’s instruction that all installations be running on a minimum of 7.5 percent renewable energy by 2015.

As the current leader in the Marine Corps’ race to go green at five percent, the Combat Center already has the largest federally owned solar panel field, located behind the East Gym, said Gary Morrissett, the energy manager for public works.

“It’s great that we’re moving to renewable energy,” said the Belleville, Ill., native. “It’s cheaper, cleaner and better for the environment.”

The current solar panel project to will triple the amount of renewable energy the Combat Center uses and will pay for itself in roughly four years. The solar panels have a life span of 30 years — that’s 26 years of savings, said Daniel Kariuki, the project manager.

“I think this is one of the best things we could be doing for the base,” said Don Clark, the deputy director of public works. “This is only the beginning of a number of renewable energy projects to come.”

The Combat Center is slated to install wind power turbines in the future as one of the ways to promote “going green.”

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