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Yosemite National Park: July 25, 2011
Coverage of El Portal SolarWorld installation.
Photo by Al GOLUB/Golub Photography.
Largest solar project in a national park, Yosemite, features SolarWorld solar panels in three formats
HILLSBORO, Ore., July 27, 2011 Ð The new largest solar installation in a U.S. national park features high-performance solar panels from SolarWorld, the largest U.S. photovoltaic manufacturer for more than 35 years, in roof-mount, parking-canopy and wall-mount systems at Yosemite National Park. The installation, dedicated today in a ceremony at the El Portal Administrative Complex in the 1,189-square-mile park, marks an advance in self-sufficiency and sustainability for the treasured wilderness reserve in CaliforniaÕs Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Showcasing the work of U.S. tradesmen and factories, the 672-kilowatt project at the parkÕs administrative and maintenance center comprises a 500-kilowatt parking canopy offering cover for center employees and visitors; a 100-kilowatt roof-mount system atop a warehouse; and a 72-kilowatt system on a sloped wall of an office building. Each is composed of SolarWorld 240-watt mono-crystalline silicon solar panels made in Hillsboro, Ore., site of the companyÕs U.S. headquarters, and Camarillo, Calif., home of the longest-running U.S. solar factory. The park estimates the solar installation will supply about 12 percent of the parkÕs total power consumption.
ÒThe combination of harnessing CaliforniaÕs abundant sunlight and technology and labor provided by U.S. workers ideally suits this energy advance for Yosemite National Park,Ó Superintendent Don Neubacher said. ÒSolar panels from SolarWorld, along with the contributions of a number of other U.S.-based service firms and manufacturing enterprises, will maximize the sustainable impact on this effort to not only take care of the park but stretch the planetÕs resources.Ó
SolarWorld authorized installer Suntrek Industries Inc., based in Irvine, Calif., undertook the installation along the scenic Merced River. The park is known for granite formations, such as Half Dome and El Capitan, that legendary photographer Ansel Adams indelibly captured. ÒThis project was about protecting an amazing national park,Ó said Alex Smith, project manager for Suntrek. ÒWhat better way to protect the park than with solar energy?Ó
Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas, said the company, many of whose U.S. employees date back to the early years of domestic solar manufacturing, couldnÕt be prouder to supply solar panels to help operate a jewel in the crown of the U.S. park system. ÒThis project will go down as a magical milestone for us,Ó Kilkelly said.
The projectÕs $5.8 million total cost was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.