Soaking Up The Sun

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Sun and shade are working together at the International Airport in Sacramento. The largest free-standing solarport in the country has a photovoltaic system that tracks the sun across the sky, providing electricity to the power grid and cool parking spaces to airport visitors.

The solarport measures 393 feet long, 30 feet wide and 14 feet high. Beneath the cantilevered structure is shaded parking space for 75 cars, as well as a recharging station that services four electric vehicles. Up top, the photovoltaic cells collect enough sunlight not only to recharge cars, but to power 50 homes. The electricity is added to the local power grid of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

According to the utility, the solarport is expected to save the equivalent of 825,00 gallons of oil, 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas, or 10 million pounds of coal. Furthermore, atmospheric pollutants could decrease by 1.7 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

As deregulation gains momentum and utilities market their "green power," multi-purpose photovoltaic systems such as the solarport may persuade some consumers to jump aboard a new power provider.

The Green Business Letter
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Linda is responsible for the PERC web sites, media relations, the national journalism conference, and the media fellows program. She is author of Forest Fires, part of a series of  environmental education books for high school students. She also wrote and produced Square One, a newsletter that introduced grassroots environmentalists to market...
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