Published on January 7th, 2009 | by Tom Schueneman0
Grand Canyon Visitor’s Center Goes Solar
The visitor’s center on the south rim of the Grand Canyon will soon be powered with the aid of solar power. Arizona Public Service is paying for the 18 kilowatt PV solar system through voluntary payments from its customers. Construction of the system is scheduled to begin this month, with completion sometime in March.
Providing electricity and education
The 84 panels to be installed on the grounds around the center and on the center’s roof will provide about 30% of the center’s electricity as well as a unique opportunity to educate the public about solar energy. The Grand Canyon attracts 4.5 million people to the center each year. The high visibility of the system is one of the reasons APS decided to donate the system to the visitor’s center.
“Visitors to Arizona’s most recognizable feature, the Grand Canyon, will now have the opportunity to enjoy the states second most recognizable feature, sunshine,” said Barbara Lockwood, APS’ Manager of Renewable Energy. “The value of this system goes beyond the economic savings realized at the Center. It is an educational tool as well as a way to increase Arizona’s visibility as a leader in solar energy.”
An exhibit is planned for inside the center, as well as signage next to the platform-mounted panels, to educate and inform the public about the mechanics of solar energy. The exhibit will include a monitor indicating the amount of solar energy the system is producing moment-by-moment.
The system was funded by APS customers through their Green Rates program and Arizona Corporation Commission’s Renewable Energy Standard.