WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- The numbers of privately owned, electric vehicles on Army installations in Hawaii are increasing.

U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, however, does not have charging stations available to the community at large.

The garrison has begun preliminary discussions with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service about establishing commercial charging stations for customers to purchase battery charging.

Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, USAG-HI, welcomes feedback and input on where charging locations might best serve the population.

While USAG-HI works through these issues, all Soldiers, civilians and family members are reminded that taking government-procured electricity to charge their privately owned vehicles is illegal.

"It is stealing and will be treated as such by law enforcement personnel and should be by all Army leaders, as well," Mulbury said.

One exception is service members who live on post. Only these families are authorized to charge their vehicles at their homes. Using energy from any other building to charge their POVs is not authorized.

The garrison is currently participating in a prototype pilot program designed to help make the installation energy independent. In efforts to provide a clean source of "green" power and control to nearly any source of electrical power within the grid, the first-ever smart-charging micro grid system was unveiled here in March 2011.

The system consists of 25 kilowatts of solar power, 200 kilowatt-hours of battery storage and four plug-in electric vehicles. It powers four electric vehicles and has the ability to provide instant backup power to support three buildings for 72 hours, including the garrison headquarters.

The smart-charging micro grid system's stalls are provided only for the pilot program's vehicles.

Got ideas?

One voice can make a difference. The Army Hawaii community of Soldiers, family members and civilian employees can communicate with garrison in many ways.