Arizona Public Service (APS) is bringing together two of the state’s most recognizable features–the Grand Canyon and the sun–as the Grand Canyon National Park goes solar.
Eighty-four photovoltaic solar panels are now operational on and around the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, providing the building with approximately 18 kilowatts (kW) of electricity. The panels provide enough energy to offset 30 percent of the Visitor Center’s electricity use.
“This project is symbolic of the commitment we have at APS to environmental protection, sustainability and to make Arizona the solar capital of the world,” APS President and Chief Operating Officer Don Robinson said at a celebration event hosted by the National Park Service. “We selected the Grand Canyon for this project because of the opportunity that exists there to educate so many people from around the world about renewable energy.”
Located both on the Visitor Center’s roof and on ground-mounted platforms adjacent to the building, the panels will be seen by the more than 4.5 million people who visit the Canyon each year.
“A great partnership was created when Grand Canyon National Park and APS came together for this project,” said Steve Martin, Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent. “This solar installation is a shining example of the park’s commitment to protecting the environment through the use of renewable energy. The Visitor Center is the perfect location, making the panels visible to all guests, providing an opportunity to educate and inspire.”
Funding for the panels and their installation came from APS customers through APS’ Green Rates and the Arizona Corporation Commission’s Renewable Energy Standard.
APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves about 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. In 2008, APS won its second Edison Award in recognition of innovative leadership and operational excellence in the electric industry. Given annually by the Edison Electric Institute, the Edison Award is considered the industry’s most prestigious honor. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp.