The Army base in Fort Bliss, Texas has a goal of getting to net-zero energy, and as part of that, they are about to build a 20 megawatt solar farm, the biggest for the military to date.
It will power all the division headquarters and most of the eastern sector of the sprawling complex, and is the first partnership between the military and a major local utility on a renewable energy project of this scale.
El Paso Electric is building the plant, which will come online in 2015. They are also planning another 20 MW solar plant and pursuing wind and geothermal projects.
Fort Bliss already has a 1.4 MW solar solar array, the Army's second-largest, and 13.4 MW of solar PV on post rooftops, maintained by SolarCity as part of Project SolarStrong.
Other measures toward net-zero energy are making life better at the Army base - they've planted 14,700 trees and created biking and walking paths that wind through the complex.
The Army's goal is for renewables to supply 25% of energy by 2015.
In 2011, the US Army announced that six bases would target net- zero energy, another six net-zero water and another six net-zero waste.
Fort Bliss was one of several basis that chose to target all three ... by 2020.
Recycling has also gotten a lot more attention on base, raising $1 million last year for projects such as skating parks and spinning bicycles. There's also been a dramatic drop in electricity use in post housing, says Major General Dana Pittard.
"Changing behavior and promoting a culture that encourages energy conservation are keys to achieving Net Zero," he explains. "And that is what we hope our soldiers will then take with them when they go on to other installations and move into society throughout the county."
"The solar farm, along with our environment campaign plan, are both part of a larger effort to make Fort Bliss the most fit, most healthy, most resilient community in America that is environmentally sound and is best at preparing soldiers and units for combat," he says.
Soldiers feel much more part of a community when they get outdoors. It's "no accident" that Fort Bliss has the Army's lowest suicide rate in the US, he says.
"We feel that the fitness, the resiliency and the Net Zero is interrelated," Pittard says. "For us here, it has been a no-brainer. Now what we hope is that the rest of the Army sees that and will replicate it."