Solar at Gitmo? U.S. Military Keeps Saying Yes to Solar


New solar installations are completed at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba and the United States Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. The systems will save money for the military and help reach the U.S. Department of Defense goal of getting 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.


When you think of Guantanamo, solar power may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But with solar popping up everywhere these days, it shouldn’t be a big surprise to find it there, too. After all, solar power is not new for the U.S. military, one of its biggest adopters.

And for Guantanamo, it makes sense given the Department of the Navy’s goal of producing at least 50% of shore-based energy requirements from alternative energy sources.

The Guantanamo news was one of two military solar stories that came in this week. We also heard about the The United States Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Yuma, Arizona going solar.

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Gitmo) is going solar with American-made panels from PV manufacturer Suniva. The company announced today that Suniva’s high-powered OPTimus modules will provide clean electricity to power Guantanamo Bay’s Navy Exchange Building. The 700 kW ground-mount system, developed by World Electric Supply, a division of Sonepar USA, is the largest solar array to date on the naval base and will yield both energy and cost savings.

“Suniva is proud that our solar modules will help transform this high-profile naval base into a clean energy producing facility,” said Matt Card, vice president of global sales and marketing of Suniva. “Suniva is the country’s largest U.S.-born, U.S.-owned module manufacturer, so it’s fitting that our modules were selected for another strategic military installation.”

“Our relationship with Suniva continues to provide great value to both companies. Their OPTimus module line has become a strong piece of our solution set. Given their power output and quality, Suniva’s OPTimus modules are by far the most appropriate fit for this installation,” said Lee Tilka, sales manager of World Electric Supply.

Gitmo has obtained its own electricity since the 1960s, but most of this has been in the form of expensive diesel fuel imports. Recently, Gitmo has been recognized for its efforts in using both solar and wind production to reduce the cost of expensive fossil fuels.

United States Marine Corps Air Station

For the United States Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Yuma, Arizona, solar was also a good option.

Independent Energy Solutions (IES) has  finished construction of a solar carport project there, using HatiCon Solar’s alTite penetrating flat roof mounting system. The system has transformed a typical carport structure into an efficient source of renewable electricity with a 325 kW peak capacity.

The mounting system with a 15 degree tilt used Hyundai 250 watt solar modules. The alTite system’s long spans reduced the number of penetrations needed in the carport structure. Preassembled components made for faster installation under the hot Arizona sun — also helpful for reducing labor installation costs.