In keeping with the military's goal of 50% renewable energy for all bases by 2020, the U.S. Navy has been planning to build a Honolulu solar farm at the Pearl Harbor site in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Pearl Harbor Naval Base is on the National Register of Historic Places with many buildings still showing the damage done by the 1941 Japanese attack and it is a major tourist destination in the Hawaiian islands.
The plans for the new solar farm have been met with opposition from groups like the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and other veterans who feel that adding fields of Hawaii solar panels will irreparably mar the historically important site by giving it an industrial feel.
Mal Middlesworth, a member of the Survivors Association, told the Los Angeles Times, "Ford Island is one of the most sacred areas of the Pacific Theater. It's a national shrine. I don't understand the Navy."
Propoenents of the project argue that the site chosen at Pearl Harbor is an old air strip that has been overgrown with weeds and solar panels would actually improve its appearance while also providing clean energy to the base. The panels would help the Navy save some $1.5 million in energy costs in just the first year of operation.
"We look at this as an opportunity to preserve what is on Ford Island while taking advantage of new technologies to secure our energy future," said Capt. Mike Williamson, who is in charge of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Hawaii.
In response to the push back, the Navy is exploring other nearby sites. But the Pearl Harbor location still seems to be the best fit for an installation.
With year round sunny skies and high costs for imported oil, The Hawaiian islands are a premier location for solar energy production.
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