Reconnect Island to Mainland Electrical Supply/PV System installation
With design assistance from the HDR team, the National Park Service is bringing solar power to Alcatraz Island. The project includes mounting solar panels on two historic buildings on the island, including the infamous main prison building. For years, Alcatraz Island relied solely on diesel generators for its power supply, with diesel fuel brought to the island by boat. As a significant source of air pollution, the generators detracted from the National Park Service's vision of a smaller carbon footprint for their parks.
Preliminary planning involved studying the feasibility of a new 12.5 kV submarine transmission cable through the San Francisco Bay. Opportunities and constraints relating to the design, construction and operation of a submarine cable were evaluated to establish a blueprint for future plans.
The solar photovoltaic system will produce 305 kilowatts of power under average conditions. A 2 megawatt-hour battery system was added to store energy generated on sunny days and supply energy when the photovoltaic system alone isn't enough to meet the energy needs of the island. Two diesel generators will remain on the island for back up power generation.
The Alcatraz solar system is designed to be one of the largest off-grid solar systems in the United States and will dramatically reduce the island's dependence on diesel generators. The system is transparent to tourists, maintaining the historical and cultural fabric while significantly reducing negative greenhouse gas emissions on "The Rock".