Of my 21 years in the U.S. Navy, I had the good fortune to spend 11 of them home ported in Pearl Harbor. There are many things that I remember about the islands... the beauty, the surf, scuba diving off Electric Beach, rainbows, and lots of sunshine.
Sunshine feels different in Hawaii. It's almost as if it either has a weight of its own or a downward, vertical breeze. Since Pearl Harbor is in a much lower latitude (21 degrees, 20 minutes North), sunlight is much more direct. Because of this high angle of the sun, there is less atmosphere to diffuse its energy. All of these factors combine to enhance the effectiveness of photo-voltaic (PV) arrays.
The following article from PV Magazine reports on a very large PV installation recently completed at Joint Base Hickam - Pearl Harbor:
2.4 MW solar installation at Pearl Harbor Naval Base
03. June 2011, By: Jonathan Gif
DRI Energy and Niking Corp. install SolarWorld photovoltaic panels on five key buildings at the historic US Naval Base.
Five rooftop solar energy systems worth 2.4 megawatts have been installed by the US military, as part of base improvements at the US Navy base at Pearl Harbor now know as Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham. The project cost $15 million and was funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The solar systems where engineered, procured and installed by California-based DRI Energy working with Hawaii-based Niking Corp. The installation uses solar panels from SolarWorld, produced in their Californian and Oregon facilities. The solar panels have been installed but final configuration will be completed in the coming months.
The solar systems were installed over five buildings including a historic quarters, built in 1927; a headquarters building from the 1940s; and an on-site shopping and supplies center. The power produced will be enough to supply 440 homes.
The installation was part of the US military’s project to increase its energy independence using renewable energy technology that requires no fuel, parts, maintenance and produces no emissions or noise. SolarWorld’s Kevin Kilkelly said that it was gratifying to see the installation help power one of the world’s best know and historic military sites. “In that light, these projects may be the best signs yet of the nation’s embrace of domestic solar technology.”