A surprising proponent of solar energy: the US Military; (SunSi Energies Inc) $SSIE

A surprising proponent of solar energy: the US Military; (SunSi Energies Inc) $SSIE

SunSi Energies Inc's (OTC: SSIE) goal is to become one of the world's largest producers of trichlorosilane ("TCS"). The Company plans to achieve this objective by acquiring and developing a portfolio of high-quality, scalable, strategically located TCS production facilities that possess a potential for future growth and expansion. U.S. based SunSi controls approximately 55,000 metric tons of TCS production in China.

TCS is a chemical primarily used in the production of polysilicon, which is an essential raw material in the production of solar cells for PV panels that convert sunlight to electricity. TCS is considered to be the first product in the solar PV value chain before polysilicon, and is also the principal source of ultrapure silicon in the semiconductor industry.

One of the biggest proponents of green technology, including solar energy, is somewhat surpising to many: the US Military. In a three part series on Forbes.com, contributor Amy Westervelt writes that "reducing energy use, in particular this country’s dependence on fossil fuels, has become a priority amongst all branches of the military pretty much since we got involved in Iraq and Afghanistan." Citing national security, "the Department of Defense has been making major investments of time and money in green technology of various kinds over the last several years, and has been executing plans to improve efficiency and reduce energy usage far faster than any of the countless state, local and federal programs we hear so much more about."

For example, in September 2011, the Army "announced a plan to install rooftop solar installations on as many as 160,000 privatized military residences in 33 states. The army announced that developer SolarCity would install, own and operate the rooftop arrays at 124 military bases." Westervelt points out that due to the nature of the arrangement between SolarCity and the army, the approach "has not been to seek more appropriations, but to meet with private developers and investors who can help fund projects and eliminate the need for more government funding. The Department of Defense is prohibited from paying a premium for goods or services, which is an obvious hurdle when it comes to many renewable energy technologies, but it’s also driving innovation in the military’s strategy and could eventually help to drive down costs in the renewable energy sector." 

Additionally, the Army launched the Energy Initiatives Office, with a mission to "engage the private sector in identifying and investing in big green power projects that could be built on the Army’s vast land holdings." Jon Gensler, federal project developer for Borrego Solar, described the Edwards project as "a great example of the willingness of the DOD to work closely with the private sector."

As for the impact that the military could have on the green technology industry, Pike Research president Clint Wheelock commented,

"The DOD is positioned to become the single most important driver of the cleantech revolution in the United States. In particular, military investment in renewable energy and related technologies can help bridge the ‘valley of death’ that lies between research & development and full commercialization of these technologies."

Read the full article on Forbes.com