Photovoltaic Panels Manufactured at Federal Penitentiary

I had a very interesting conversation with a gentleman from the Department of Justice the other day. He was describing to me how the inmates at Otisville Federal Corrections Institutemanufactured 24 MW of PV panels last year.  These panels cannot be soldto the general public for private use, however, they can be transferredto other branches of the government for installation at federalbuildings and facilities.

In 2010, the Federal Correction Instutue, Sheridan, Oregonis coming on line with a 50 MW/year PV panel manufacturing facility. What this all means is there will likely be several large PV arrayscoming on line at various federal facilities, such as penitentiaries,national parks, military bases, office buildings and the like.  Thereare several positives to this:

  1. It gives the inmates a marketable manufacturing skill which will be needed as more companies seek to manufacture PV products.
  2. Inmates are being productive.
  3. The government gets inexpensive PV panels for installation on its facilities.
  4. The money spent manufacturing PV panels is offset by the savings inelectrical energy since the panels stay within the federal governmentsystem.
  5. It stimulates the economy because the balance of system components are still supplied from outside non-government sources.
  6. It reduces the overall energy consumption in the US, which is goodfor many reasons; lowers pollution, fosters energy independence,enhances national security, etc.

This is a smart use of taxpayer dollars.