Yosemite National Park stretches across the western Sierra Nevada mountains in eastern California. The wild and majestic home of imposing rock cliffs, Giant Sequoias and mammoth waterfalls, among other attractions, plans to add a more modern natural wonder this fall: solar power.
Yosemite is spending $4.4 million of Recovery Act funding to install solar panels on new shade structures and existing buildings at the El Portal administration center, according to the Merced Sun-Star. Upon completion it will be the largest solar power installation in a national park in the United States.
The system will produce approximately 800,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar power annually. That’s enough to save the park 12 percent on its energy bills each year and, using 13 cents per kWh as a benchmark, save the park roughly $104,000 as well.
There are a total of 58 solar installations in the Pacific West Region of the National Park Service. The soon-to-be Yosemite installation will double the amount of solar electricity produced in that region all by itself.
Other notable solar installations at National Parks include the Visitor Center at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
Photo Credit: MW