Solar power in Alameda County
was first used in a large scale on the roof of the Santa Rita Jail
, in 2004. At the time it was the largest photovoltaic
(PV) installation in the United States. In all, solar power systems from PowerLight
generate electricity for seven Alameda County
facilities, including the Oakland Courthouse
and the offices of county emergency services and environmental health services.
Santa Rita Jail
The Santa Rita Jail is one of the largest county jails in the USA. It houses 4,200 inmates and 500 staff near the suburb of Dublin, and its 1.18 MW, , installation is one of the largest solar roofs in the United States, and in 2004 when it was installed, was the largest solar photovoltaic installation in the country.
When solar power was first considered for the jail in 2000, the economics were poor. Average electricity rates were less than 7 cents per kilowatt-hour, so in the first 500 kW phase of the project, PowerLight also offered energy efficiency
improvements, such as a better water chiller for air-conditioning. The following year brought a summer of rolling blackouts and Enron
market manipulation as California’s energy deregulation crisis hit, and electricity rates nearly doubled. Phase two didn't need any efficiency measures and added another 180 kW, and phase three (completed in 2002) involved an additional... Read More