FORT HOOD, Texas, Nov. 10, 2011 -- Fort Hood and Universal Services Fort Hood, Inc., officials broke ground on a solar field that will provide one million kilowatt-hours, approximately 20 percent of renewable energy annually for 300 single-fmily homes.

Three thousand photovoltaic panels will be installed in a four-acre lot near the Liberty Village housing area by March 2012.

Ashley Naquin, a Liberty Village resident who recycles and uses florescent light bulbs, is excited about the solar panels.

"I try to think green in everything I do, because I'm a mother now, and my child's future means everything to me," Naquin said.

The Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works worked with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District and Universal Services Fort Hood, or USFH, to explore renewable energy opportunities and decided to expand on solar energy.

DPW worked with the Corps of Engineers to extend the property lease for USFH to build the solar array.

"We are tremendously excited about reducing Fort Hood's dependence on fossil fuels and moving toward renewable solar and wind projects that give the installation greater energy security," Brian Dosa, director of the Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works, said. "We want to use less energy from the grid and generate more of the installation's power from renewable resources."

The $3 million project will not cost the Army, or taxpayers, anything. The contractor, USFH, is solely responsible for financing, constructing, operating and maintaining the solar array and equipment. Housing residents will consume the renewable energy without additional cost.

Thousands of panels will be fixated and titled to the south to maximize the sunlight. The energy will not be stored, but will go directly into the grid to feed into poles tied into Liberty Village. The solar array will generate enough electricity to power 60 homes. Residents will have an opportunity to see the energy made, sent and used within their community.

"This is a win for Soldiers, who will have 20 percent of their consumption taken care of by solar energy, and a win for Fort Hood, which is moving forward to bringing renewable energy to our installation and more importantly to the community," Garrison Commander Col. Mark Freitag said. "Anything we can do to harness energy from our renewable resources is a win for future generations. We have a slogan that the future of the Army begins at Fort Hood, and this is an example of a great project being initiated."

As part of the Army's challenge to pursue the Net Zero Energy goal, to produce as much energy as the installation uses, the solar field is an opportunity that will bring green electricity to military families on Fort Hood.