The Solar Powered Jail
One of largest solar electric systems in located in Alameda County, California — on top of their county jail. The solar electric system is exceeding expectations for peak demand reduction since the system went live over two years ago. While I feel the nation has far too many overcrowded jails, the results have helped convince the county to make major new commitments to solar energy. By doubling its solar deployment, the county will soon lead the nation's counties in terms of solar use, generating a total of 2.29 MW of power.
This 1.2 MW solar electric system was opened in 2002. It was designed and installed by PowerLight Corporation, generates enough electricity during the daytime to power more than 1,000 homes during the project's equivalent generating hours.
"Since the dedication, Alameda County's solar electric system has produced a summer peak demand reduction as high as 879 kW, well above projections," said Alameda County Energy Manager Matt Muniz. "This demand reduction equates to an overall cost savings of over $1.2 million, when factoring in energy efficiency savings and the kilowatt-hours produced by the system."