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Alcatraz Now Receives all Energy from Solar Sources

In accordance with President Obama’s Executive Order, all Federal Agencies must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2020, this includes National Parks, such as Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay.

In order to achieve this target, and also to reduce the $700,000 a year fuel bill that resulted from running the existing pair of diesel generators to power the island, a two year old plan has finally been realized to install a solar farm at the prison to provide all its electricity.

Alcatraz now boasts its own 307kW photovoltaic solar installation, and its own micogrid. Solar panels have been installed in what used to be the main cellhouse building, with a two megawatt per hour lead-acid battery used to store any surplus electricity produced. The whole island now receives all of its power from the solar farm, although the diesel generators remain in order to provide electricity when the solar panels cannot supply enough.

For those of you worrying that the solar installation will have been a big waste of money it is worth it to note that the project has coincided with a fall in solar panel prices, and an increase in diesel prices. Before the diesel generators produced electricity at a cost of $0.76 per kWh, whereas now, including the cost of construction, the solar plant produces electricity at $0.71 per kWh.

Alcatraz, which receives over a million visitors each year, has now become an example of solar energy potential, and will include renewable energy education as part of its experience.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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