A stackable array of solar cells providing up to 300 W of continuous electricity, also known as Greens (Ground Renewable ENergy System), will let Marines in the field recharge batteries and power communications, targeting, and other electronic devices. In many cases, the photovoltaic/battery hybrid devices will eliminate the need for soldiers to haul generators and fuel, as well as a large supply of batteries. The original goal of the project was to reduce the cost of transporting fuel and to limit risks to troops by reducing the need for resupply missions.
A Greens toolkit lets Marines enter their expected mission and see which and how many components of the solar array they need to take. The arrays are also sized to fit easily in Hummers and other transport vehicles, and several can be ganged together.
Greens was designed and developed by the Office of Naval Research in less than six months. Tests at the Navy’s China Lake facility found that the solar panels provide 85% of their rated ac and dc output even at temperatures of 116°F. With testing complete, the units are going into production and will soon be deployed.