With budgetary constraints top of mind for the Army, one Reserve unit is looking for unique ways to save money without impacting Soldier readiness.

Using alternative energy sources, the 9th Mission Support Command conducted its bi-annual consolidated Soldier Readiness Program, here, Nov. 1-3.

The SRP brings together more than 1100 Soldiers from Oahu to update records relating to medical, dental, personnel, family readiness, finance, security and legal.

When the 9th MSC's U.S. Army Reserve Theater Support Group -- Pacific, also known as the TSG, was tasked with running this year's event, Commander Col. Eddie Rosado decided the use of solar panels and other alternative energy sources were the only way to go.

"We pay four times the national average for energy within the Pacific," said Rosado. "To be good stewards of the government's money, it's our responsibility to reduce the energy bill and operational energy."

The dental portion of the event, which provides Soldiers with a cost-free way to receive cleanings, examinations and treatments like fillings and extractions, along with the administrative portion were completely run by solar panels.

"It's good for the 9th MSC as a whole to use this technology because it helps for better efficiency and will drive down our electric costs," said Ms. Shelia Woods, medical readiness coordinator for the TSG. "Normally on a weekend like this we will have over 1000 Soldiers on campus so electricity as a whole is being consumed more."

"By using solar power, it's taking a strain off the current infrastructure and we're able to use natural energy to help run this particular SRP," added Woods.

The benefits of using this type of equipment go further than just cost effectiveness.

Rosado explained the use of the technology also allows Soldiers the opportunity to train on the equipment so they are ready in case of a natural disaster.

"The number one reason to use this equipment is to save earth for the future of our children, but also to be ready and have a system that can be used in case of a natural disaster.," said Rosado. "When we have an event like this, it gives our Soldiers the opportunity to get hands-on training with the equipment and actually use it."

In addition to the solar panels, the TSG used a water purification system, the Aspen 2000, to train Soldiers on effectively purifying creek water. Once purified the unit will have the water tested by a Fort Shafter veterinarian to ensure it's safe for consumption.

"We'll be able to purify water from any source during a natural disaster," explained Rosado. "We can purify from the ocean or a creek with all kinds of bacteria. So it will be a backup system in case we have any kind of water disruption during a natural disaster."

The SRP was not the first event the equipment has been used. The TSG has made it a point to incorporate the technology into several events throughout the year, including its Earth Day celebration and its annual training exercise in March.

Rosado said that in the future they plan to utilize the same types of alternative energy sources in other locations around the command.

"Since we've been so successful in Oahu, our goal is to use the same energy sources in Guam and American Samoa and train our Soldiers there on this equipment because we have the same package at each site," said Rosado.

Page last updated Fri November 15th, 2013 at 00:00