Park Service Gains Solar Power Car Port

Workers donning leather gloves to open their scorching-hot car doors will no longer be a common sight at the maintenance facilities for Joshua Tree National Park in California.

Kingston, New York, August 26, 2003 – [SolarAccess.com] Now a new grid-tie solar photovoltaic (PV) system integrated into a parking structure will offer some respite from the smothering sun and provide pollution-free electricity for more than half of the power needed for the National Park Service’s remote site located in Twentynine Palms, California. SunWize recently installed the 64.6 kW PowerPort grid-tie system which is expected to produce 125,000 kWh annually. The site includes facility buildings, offices, a museum and a visitor center. The PowerPort PV array is located on the roof deck of a canopy structure. The 6800 square foot structure holds the solar electric system with the added benefit of providing shade for the maintenance yard, a parking area, and small office and storage buildings. Due to the shade provided by the structure, recorded asphalt temperatures dropped from 150 degrees F in direct sun to 90 degrees F under the PowerPort, reducing the air conditioning loads in the offices. The low tilt angle of the deck and PV array reduces wind loading and maximizes power output to coincide with peak electrical load periods. The project also includes a web-based data collection system to monitor daily power production. For years, the U.S. National Park Service has looked favorably upon renewable energy systems as a means to provide critical energy needs in particularly sensitive areas. “The plan of adding solar goes hand in hand with the park service’s goal of ‘treading lightly’,” said David Love of SunWize. The is the second solar PV system for which Sunwize has been tapped by the park service for installation. A smaller 7.2 kW system was recently installed at Zion National Park to provide similar benifits. With it’s size, the Joshua Tree solar PV array is an industrial-size car port, large enough to fit a full size concrete truck underneath the structure, said Love. The Sanyo PV modules employ a combination of single and multi-crystaline PV technology. A total of 432 of these Sanyo 167 modules are connected to the building and the grid via two 30 kW Xantrex inverters. Like many PV developments in the golden state, the solar project takes advantage of generous state and utility incentives. The initial investment costs are lowered through the Southern California Edison Self-Generation Incentive Program.
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