Yosemite National Park Unveils Largest Solar Energy System in the National Park System

$5.8 Million Photovoltaic Project in El Portal Grid Connected and Producing Power

Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher led a ribbon cutting ceremony today, July 27, to dedicate the El Portal Photovoltaic Project. Neubacher was joined by representatives from the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Congressman Jeff Denham (R-19th), Mariposa County Supervisor Lee Stetson, contractors, and National Park Service staff. The event dedicated the largest grid-connected photovoltaic system within the National Park Service (NPS).


The photovoltaic system at the El Portal complex is the largest NPS-managed photovoltaic project with the Pacific West Region and the largest grid-connected photovoltaic system owned and operated by the NPS. The 672 kilowatt (KW) system consists of 2,800 solar panels and produces approximately 800,000 kilowatt hours (KWh) per year. The park estimates saving approximately $50,000 per year on electricity purchased off the grid and is expecting to receive a $700,000 energy rebate from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) over the next five years. This represents an approximate 12 percent reduction in electricity purchased off the grid.

"The collaborative effort to design and build this system has come to fruition and we are extremely proud of the results," Stated Neubacher. "We are committed to being a leader in renewable energy and this project exemplifies our efforts."

The project was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment act and cost $5.8 million. Construction of the system was completed in February 2011 and the interconnection agreement with PG&E was signed in late June 2011.

The El Portal Maintenance and Administrative Complex is located at the western edge of Yosemite National Park adjacent to Highway 140. The facility includes park offices, vehicle maintenance facility, the park warehouse, and other park operations. The location was chosen for the photovoltaic project due to the high amount of direct sunlight the site receives.

Featured Product

RBI Solar - Dahlia Has You Covered

RBI Solar - Dahlia Has You Covered

What if you could maximize the Ground Coverage Ratio (GCR) on your next project and not have to worry about the complicated variables that come with a tracker system? With a low tilt and clearance design, Dahlia® has the highest GCR of any fixed-tilt system in the marketplace. The system is available in three tilt options (7.5, 10 and 12.5 degrees) and designed to accommodate any sized PV module. The lightweight system is engineered with fewer components, several of which are shipped to job sites pre-assembled. This design feature reduces freight costs and rapidly trims the amount of on-site installation time required to complete construction. Maximizing PV coverage on a site can lead to an increase of production, which creates greater financial return for project owners. Over 100 MW of Dahlia® projects have been deployed across the United States, in regions of variable snow and wind loads. How much can Dahlia® cover and save you on your next project?