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Alameda County Jail Unveils Efforts to Go Green

by:CETC SOLAR     2020-08-01
The Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County uses $3 million in electricity every year, about the quantity of needed to power a small town. To help meet those vast needs for power, the jail has taken steps towards going green with the use of its own electrical grid, which combines wind, solar and fuel cell power up.
The energy produced is stored and used in the own special power grid and prevents blackouts. The Santa Rita Jail began using this unique system in January.
The power grid was developed by Chevron Energy Solutions, working with the detention center for more than ten years. Thanks for this new system, the jail has produced 80% in the own power.
Chevron Energy Solutions has worked with both public and private entities over the years to help come at the creative solutions for reducing energy consumption and decrease utility bills.
The Santa Rita Jail's power grid cost $11.7 million. Funding for the grid came from a number of different sources, including a grant for $2 million coming from a California Energy Commission, $2.5 million from PG&E, and $6.9 million from the Department of Energy.
The batteries and power grip are expected to save the jail nearly $100,000 in energy costs every year. During peak energy use, such as during summer months, the system will disconnect automatically from the PG&E grid. Santa Rita can also store power that is bought during no peak hours.
The Santa Rita Jail learned a hard lesson back in 2001 throughout an energy crisis. The million-square-foot facility had nearly 4,000 inmates within its walls at the time and was forced to operate with only diesel generators for almost a complete month. This sparked the requirement to find alternative energy sources for the facility.
At that time, the jail partnered up with Chevron Energy Solutions, which installed the biggest photovoltaic system in the area to date. It was a 1.2 megawatt, 9,000 panel system. In 2006, Santa Rita added an additional 1 megawatt fuel camera. In 2010, five wind turbines were also built in. Last year, a 1,100-solar panel system was set on the hillside.
This system is also set to add additional fuel cells, wind and solar utilities in earth without having any interferences.
The goal is for your jail to become completely independent by increasing the amount renewable resources and lowering the energy demand of making a fleet of. For now, the Santa Rita Jail is touting itself as the most 'green' jail in the country.
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