By JOSEPH JOHNSON, Associated PressThe U.S. Navy says it plans to replace the mastercraft boats it uses to conduct research with solar panels on the ships, but it’s unclear if the new solar panels will be cost-competitive with existing systems.
The Navy said Thursday that the solar panel technology will replace the existing panels on five of the 10 new U.T.A.P.E. boats it owns.
It’s the first time the Navy has made such a large change to a ship’s electrical systems.
The Navy has not yet said how many of the new ships will be solar powered, but the Navy said it is committed to reducing the cost of electric power on the Navy’s fleet by $2.5 billion over the next two decades.
The solar panels would be installed in the water, and could be installed as part of the fleet’s electrification efforts.
Navy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Robert Currie said the solar panels are being installed to help “make sure we are using renewable energy.”
Naval Chief of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford told a Pentagon conference that the Navy will replace all of its existing electrical systems with solar power systems over the course of the next decade.
The Naval Research Laboratory, which has spent the last four years studying how the Navy can use solar energy to reduce the cost and the emissions of greenhouse gases, has been looking at using the technology to cut down on its emissions, the Navy announced in a news release.
The solar panels could help the Navy achieve the same goal.
The Naval Research Lab was one of the first institutions in the world to develop a solar powered research vessel.
The $10 billion ship was completed in 2011.
In March, the government awarded the Navy a contract to help it develop a way to reduce its carbon footprint in the ocean by 40 percent by 2050.
The contract, worth $1.2 billion, includes a $2 million grant to a contractor.
The Navy has been testing solar power for years, but there have been only two solar powered boats in the Navy since 2011.
The first was a $12 million, 20-foot-long craft called the USS Serenity, which was built in 2004 and retired in 2014.
That boat was designed to operate on solar energy but it was not fully powered by solar.
It was the first solar powered boat to leave the Navy.
After the Serenita’s retirement, the U.P., a 20-meter-long vessel with solar technology, was constructed in 2013.
The U.H.K. also used solar power on its nuclear-powered Nimitz-class nuclear-electric submarine.