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Base recycling center harnesses the power of the sun

Lance Cpl. Daniel Boothe

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

The largest recycling center within the Department of Defense saves a number of natural resources every year and will also soon produce enough solar energy to consistently power 12 average US homes.

Nearly 400 solar panels, spanning more than 6,600 total square feet, will top Camp Pendleton’s $3.5 million recycling center before the fall.

“Recycling not only saves natural resources, but it reduces our need to exhaust environmental assets,” said Charles P. Bradshaw, recycling program manager, Camp Pendleton Recycling Center, which produces one third of the Marine Corps’ recycling profits. “This project has also created jobs.”

The recycling center’s solar panel project is only a portion of a larger $2.9 million base efficiency effort that has created more than 50 jobs for local residents. The overall energy-saving effort also includes an even larger solar array on top of the Las Pulgas artillery shelter and energy-efficient lighting improvements at Camp Horno.

“This system brings us one step closer to meeting our mandated goal of increasing renewable electric power,” said Jeff S. Allen, base energy manager, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, who has worked in energy-related professions for the last 13 years.

During the first Marine Corps Energy Summit in 2009, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General James T. Conway mandated that every installation across the Corps increase renewable electric energy 25 percent by 2025.

Power produced from the solar panels not only benefit the base, but is also directly channeled into the public power grid shared by Camp Pendleton and the surrounding communities.

President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded the federal energy-saving effort, and all of the materials and resources needed to complete the power-saving project were ordered from domestic U.S. companies.

“And best of all, the revenues from the sale of recyclable scrap is returned to the base to be used in projects that benefit Marines, sailors and their families,” said Bradshaw. “Those projects can be for pollution prevention, energy conservation, safety and occupational health, and even for morale welfare and recreation.”

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