SunEdison Sets Up Solar Power at Ironwood Prison

Ironwood State Prison in Blythe, Calif., and SunEdison on May 28 announced the activation of a new 1.18 megawatt (MW) ground-mounted photovoltaic solar power system.

The photovoltaic system was deployed through a public-private partnership between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and SunEdison, North America's largest solar energy services provider.

Under a solar power services agreement, SunEdison financed, constructed, and will operate the solar energy system. The department avoids all upfront capital costs and will purchase the solar energy at predictable prices equal to or less than current retail rates.

Activation of the zero-emission solar energy system is a major step for Ironwood in meeting the department's energy management goals. The governor also has mandated that state agencies evaluate the merits of using clean and renewable on-site energy generation technologies in all new building or large renovation projects and take measures to reduce grid-based energy purchases for state-owned buildings by 20 percent by 2015. Over 20 years of operation, the Ironwood system will produce more than 43 million kWh of solar energy, the equivalent to powering 4,107 homes and removing 3,770 cars off the road for one year.

"We are strongly committed to being a good neighbor and in doing what's right for our community. Leveraging our most plentiful natural resource – the desert sun – while protecting a limited local resource – water – makes both environmental and fiscal sense for Ironwood and California taxpayers," said Ironwood Warden Debra Dexter. "This partnership with SunEdison makes it possible for Ironwood Prison to be the community's host for solar energy."

"SunEdison is extremely proud to be part of this public-private partnership with the Ironwood State Prison and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to deploy clean renewable energy," said Thomas Rainwater, chief executive officer of SunEdison. "This is truly a long-term partnership, where the solar power produced at Ironwood will support our partner's commitment to being a good community member."

In June 2006, SunEdison activated a 1.16 MW solar power system at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison. The photovoltaic system at Chuckawalla has produced more than 3.7 million kWh since commercial activation.