Yosemite Valley, CA– Yosemite National Park now has the largest solar energy system within the National Park Service.
Superintendent Don Neubacher led a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday to dedicate the $5.8 million El Portal Photovoltaic Project.
Neubacher was joined by representatives from the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congressman Jeff Denham, Mariposa County Supervisor Lee Stetson, contractors, and National Park Service staff.
The 672 kilowatt system consists of 2,800 solar panels and produces approximately 800,000 kilowatt hours 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 PG&E over the next five years. This represents an approximate 12 percent reduction in electricity purchased off the grid.
“The collaborative effort to design and build this system has come to fruition and we are extremely proud of the results,” said Neubacher. “We are committed to being a leader in renewable energy and this project exemplifies our efforts.”
The project was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and cost $5.8 million. Construction of the system was completed in February 2011 and the interconnection agreement with PG&E was signed in late June 2011.
The El Portal Maintenance and Administrative Complex is located at the western edge of Yosemite National Park adjacent to Highway 140.