Over a nine month period, the U.S. Army Central Operational Energy Program tested the effectiveness and reliability of solar powered light systems as an alternative to gas-powered systems.
The last of 250 SPLS in the initial test run arrived, May 16. Their arrival marks the end of the test period led by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Weaver Prosper, the USARCENT operational energy program manager.
Prosper said the test period normally takes nine months to evaluate new systems, and credits the effective tracking methods of USARCENT Soldiers and the excellent functionality of the light systems as the reasons USARCENT authorized the purchase of more light systems.
“USARCENT noncommissioned officers collected data from the solar light systems and compared that data to the gas powered light systems,” said Prosper. “Because of their efforts, we were able to get raw, real-time information from both types of light systems.”
Prosper said now that the SPLS concept has been validated, USARCENT will replace all of the gas powered light systems currently on Camp Arifjan.
“We currently have 250 solar powered light systems here in Kuwait,” said Prosper. “The way forward for us is to purchase approximately 1,000 more.” According to Prosper, replacing the light systems is an easy way for USARCENT to reduce fuel consumption by 4 million gallons a year and saves USARCENT tens of millions of dollars.
“The operational energy program has four pillars to our approach: waste, water, energy and fuel,” Prosper said. “Following a report about energy usage on Camp Arifjan, we noticed fuel was a low hanging fruit for us. Our initial analysis of the SPLS indicated that by replacing every diesel powered light system in USARCENT with one powered by renewable energy, we would save approximately $56-million a year.”