U.S. Army Develops Lightweight, Flexible Solar Panels to Power Troops. by David Crane
by David Crane
by David Crane
Just found this at "Wired News" (Wired.com). The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center (a.k.a. Soldier Systems Center) is currently developing lightweight, flexible solar panels for troop tents and uniforms. The project’s goal is to lighten our soldiers’ loads and reduce their thermal signatures. Reducing thermal signature will help our troops to avoid detection by enemy forces.
Apparently, you can use these flexible solar panels to cover a tent and power everything inside. Panels developed by Iowa Thin Film Technologies are already being tested for this specific use. The solar panels are made from amorphous silicon thin film on plastic, and can…
replace conventional battery packs that can reveal a soldier’s presence. Iowa Thin Film Technologies calls the product "PowerFilm".
U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center/Soldier Systems Center is also working to develop nanotechnology-based solar panels that can be woven directly into fabric. Thus, they’ll be able to embed the solar technology directly into tents and uniforms, providing a camouflaged power source. Natick is partnering with Konarka Technologies to develop this particular technology.
Brunton apparently makes a tri-fold solar array called the Solaris, that utilizes the PowerFilm product made by Iowa Thin Film Technologies.
Click here to go directly to the orginal "Wired News" article, titled "Solar to Keep Army on the Go". The article is written by John Gartner.
DefenseReview intends to publish more information about the military applications for photovoltaics in the future.