Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



During military and disaster relief operations, connecting to an established electrical grid is rarely an option. In these situations, camps consisting of poorly insulated fabric shelters are predominantly powered by inefficient diesel generators that require frequent fuel resupply. In order to reduce the fuel demand of these generators, camps may utilize photovoltaic-battery systems. This paper presents an innovative cost-performance model capable of optimizing solar array size, battery backup system, and shelter insulation type to minimize the operating cost of powering a single fabric shelter. Model performance was evaluated using one year of insolation, weather and energy requirement data from a shelter located in Southwest Asia. For a shelter with R-4.7 insulation, the model generated an optimal system configuration consisting of a 251 m2 solar array and an 86 kWh lithium-ion battery. Over one year, this system would reduce the fuel consumption by 97% and save $1.1 million, including system purchase price, compared to a diesel generator. The results of the case study analysis demonstrate the model’s unique capability to optimize photovoltaic-battery system size and shelter insulation material in order to minimize annual operating costs.


AFIT Scholar provides the manuscript of this work.

This work was supported in part by the U.S. Air Force Operational Energy Office.

[*] Author note: Jay Pearson was an AFIT graduate student at the time of this conference.

Source Publication

15th Dayton Engineering Sciences Symposium