Monday, June 1, 2009

Solar energy comes to tribal clinic

A new solar energy system is providing about half of the electricity needed to power the Pyramid Lake Tribal Health Clinic in Nixon.

The 30-kilowatt photovoltaic array was made possible by a combination of donated labor and materials, and a program created by the Nevada State Legislature to encourage Nevadans to use renewable energy.

A dedication ceremony took place Friday.

Labor and materials were donated by the nonprofit Black Rock Solar, and costs for the solar panels were offset by a $138,000 rebate from the SolarGenerations program, which is managed statewide by NV Energy.

The panels were installed on the ground in a fenced area next to the clinic and are expected to generate approximately 60,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, or roughly half the clinic’s annual electricity consumption. This will reduce the clinic’s annual electric bill by approximately $7,200 or $180,000 over the expected 25-year life of the panels, said John Hargrove, project manager for SolarGenerations.

Since the start of the program six years ago, over 2 megawatts of solar energy have been installed statewide, and over $8 million in financial incentives has been paid out.

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