October 11, 2013
The Army Goes Green, but Not to Save the Earth (Ehren Goossens, Oct 10, 2013, Bloomberg Businessweek)
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 11, 2013 1:31 PMDaniel Rice takes taxis down long desert roads in Afghanistan's combat zones to make sales calls. He travels at night, unarmed, and when he's dropped at the gate of a U.S. military base, soldiers often call Rice crazy before whisking him inside. The former U.S. Army officer is there to sell commanders on something he wishes the military used eight years ago when he served in Iraq and lost friends in attacks on convoys: solar panels.Rice, co-founder of SunDial Capital Partners, tells the officers that his portable solar systems can reduce fuel consumption. "Why are soldiers still dying in fuel convoys when the military could significantly reduce its fuel at remote locations and at the same time save taxpayer dollars?" he asks.The Army has spent $10 million to equip Special Forces units with SunDial's systems. It's part of a $4 billion green campaign the Army launched in 2009, with plans to spend billions more over the next three decades. The mission isn't about saving the environment. It's about saving money and lives. "A fuel tanker can be shot at and blown up," says Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of the Army in charge of energy and sustainability. "The sun's rays will still be there."