Robins Leads SE with new Solar Tech

Robert David, head of USAF’s Advanced Power Technology Office, says a recently installed solar panel at Robins AFB, Ga., is the first of its kind in the Southeast US. The panel, which is roughly the size of a drive-in movie screen and cost about $434,000, is unique, David said, because it can automatically track the sun with concentrated photovoltaic array technology that increases the sun’s power 500 to 1,000 times. Scott Slyfield, APTO program manager, noted that earlier solar panels captured about eight percent of the sun’s energy compared to the 38 percent of this new panel. USAF had the panel installed for a year-long demonstration—after which Robins can opt to keep it—to offset power used by a new hydrogen fuel production/refueling station. David said, too, that a farm of the new solar panels would be more cost efficient. (Robins report by Wayne Crenshaw)