What better place to host the biggest solar energy installation at a U.S.national park than Yosemite? Tucked in a region that gets more annual sunshine than just about anywhere in the country, the California park boasts nearly perfect conditions for solar power.
Officials several days ago inaugurated the 672-kilowatt (kW) solararray, which comprises a 500-kW parking canopy for employees andvisitors; a 100-kW rooftop solar array atop a warehouse; and a 72-kWwall-mounted installation (pictured above).
As we reported over a year ago, it was originally speculated that the “solar panels are expected togenerate electricity at a levelized cost of about 13 cents per kilowatthour, reducing annual electricity costs by about $104,000.” According to The Business Journal, however, those annual energy costs savings are actually projected to be closer to $50,000 — equivalent to around 12 percent of the park’sannual electricity needs.
All 2,800 solar panels were supplied by SolarWorld, a manufacturer known for making high-quality, highly efficient monocrystalline solar panels.
“The combination of harnessing California’s abundantsunlight and technology and labor provided by U.S. workers ideally suits this energy advance for Yosemite National Park,” Superintendent DonNeubacher said. “Solar panels from SolarWorld, along with thecontributions of a number of other U.S.-based service firms andmanufacturing enterprises, will maximize the sustainable impact on thiseffort to not only take care of the park but stretch the planet’sresources.”
The $4.4 million solar project was made possible thanks to arenewable energy grant via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Photo courtesy of SolarWorld.