Solar Panels (Creative Commons / Fernando Tomás)
California state prisons will capitalise on the advantages of solar energy thanks to the construction of solar power plants at its prison grounds, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and SunEdison. The solar panels will be erected at Chuckawalla Valley and Ironwood State Prisons in Blythe, Kern State Prison in Delano and California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi respectively. While the four solar panel projects are undergoing their construction phase and will start generating power by late December, the fifth installation at California State Prison, Los Angeles County is expected to be complete by coming summer along with the second phase of the Tehachapi project.
Totalling to 83,000 panels, the plants will generate 25 megawatts of power across the state. It also translates into $57 million of savings for taxpayers over the next 20 years.
The creation of these solar power plants will lower dependence on utility companies in addition to proving the department’s commitment to completing Governor Brown’s renewable energy goals, said corrections department secretary Matthew Cate. The projects will not only save the state money during recessive times but will also boost the economy with upcoming constructions.
SunEdison has been handed over the job of installing the solar panels, using no money from the state’s General Fund.