Image credit: kcratv
When Jaymi reported that Yosemite National Park was cutting down trees to improve the view, the response from our readers was overwhelmingly negative. Given that many National Parks are under grave threat from climate change, and 100+ State Parks are facing closure, it might be time for some positive park-related news for a change. For that, we return to Yosemite, which has just launched the largest solar energy array of any National Park in the country.KCRA TV reports on the unveiling of the solar power array at Yosemite National Park last week (embedding is sadly disabled on this video), reporting that the system cost $4.5m and will supply the entire park with as much as 12% of its overall energy needs. Meanwhile the press release from Yosemite has a little more information about this National Park solar power project:
The 672 kilowatt (KW) system consists of 2,800 solar panels and produces approximately 800,000 kilowatt hours (KWh) per year. The park estimates saving approximately $50,000 per year on electricity purchased off the grid and is expecting to receive a $700,000 energy rebate from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E;) over the next five years. This represents an approximate 12 percent reduction in electricity purchased off the grid.
Given that a 2MW solar array is already located at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, this latest development provides yet more opportunities for a large section of the populace to see solar power in action. Much like massive warehouses installing solar next to highways, what we need more than anything is highly visible, iconic projects that capture the imagination and push us all to realize what can be achieved.
Congratulations to Yosemite on an important initiative. Whether or not they cut down those trees, they have just taken one important step toward a cleaner energy future.