Solar Energy Powers Condor Research Station

Shell Solar and SunWize Technologies have completed a 1.76-kilowatt solar power system for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Southern California.

Camarillo, California – March 20, 2003 [] The system uses Shell Solar 110-watt solar modules to operate a variety of loads for the research station located at the preserve. Situated in the rugged, mountainous terrain of Ventura County, the refuge was set up to maintain the area’s unique habitats and to contribute to the recovery of the endangered California condor. It is home to over 40 of the rare birds. The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased the Hopper cattle ranch in 1974 to protect the nesting and feeding areas for the condors that were released from captivity. The research station, a converted ranch house, provides a base of operation for the personnel who monitor and care for the condors. The ranch house was never connected to utility power lines and had a very small solar electric system for a few reading lights. SunWize designed and manufactured a prepackaged system to operate the household loads for the four to six researchers stationed at the site. The PV array of Shell Solar modules and balance of system components are mounted on two steel skid-based structures. The system was simple to install and commission with minimal site preparation. The researchers are now able to use lights and computers without operating the generator. A system monitor allows the researchers to check the battery charge and acts as a reminder to turn off any unneeded loads. An 8.5 kW propane generator provides backup power in the event of extended cloudy weather.
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