Cogenra’s hybrid solar being tested by military for multiple uses

Cogenra’s hybrid solar being tested by military for multiple usesCogenra’s hybrid solar modules, which provide both hot water and electricity, will be tested at two military sites in the U.S. and is being considered for the Marine Corps’ Experimental Forward Operating Bases.

The company won a $2 million contract to deploy a 242-kilowatt rooftop array at Port Hueneme Naval Base in Ventura County and a 121-kilowatt array at the Army Parks Reserve Forces Training Area in Dublin—both in California.

The contracts were awarded to Cogenra through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) as part of its Installation Energy Test Bed initiative for fiscal year 2012. The company said it was one of 27 projects awarded out of 575 proposals.

“The permanent installations, those are our first [with the military],” said Cogenra CEO Dr. Gilad Almogy.

The test bed initiative has a number of purposes, all geared toward expanding advanced energy solutions like renewable energy and smart grids.

“The idea is that they take a technology that is commercial but not yet proven in a Department of Defense environment and support it through the program,” Almogy said. “The whole idea is to lead to much more broad adoption in the Department of Defense environments.”

The department has 300,000 buildings and spends $4 billion annually on electricity.

“Overall there’s a tremendous potential for the technology for the department,” he said.

Cogenra will install its systems, which combine a solar thermal trough water heating system with a low-concentration photovoltaic system on a roof at the Naval base and another system at the Army training facility. The installations will provide hot water and electricity for dining halls and for residential quarters for everyday uses, such as showering, laundry and other amenities.

The Marines also are looking into the technology for forward operating bases.

“If you think of a forward operating base, you’ve got to bring fuel to these places. In their case, a gallon of fuel doesn’t cost $4, it cost much more,” Almogy said. “In general, [Cogenra’s product] is a very good fit. It’s very robust and easy to put up. They’ve already let us know they need a specific thing, and there will be some changes.”

While this is Cogenra’s first interaction with the military, there could be more in 2012.

“We hope it happens,” Almogy said. The company already has looked at several potential bases for the technology, he said.