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State Prisons Harness The Power of Solar Energy

A handful of state prisons throughout Colorado seem to be on to something. Nine state prisons have recently installed solar photovoltaic arrays, which...

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|May 4|magazine18 min read

 

A handful of state prisons throughout Colorado seem to be on to something. Nine state prisons have recently installed solar photovoltaic arrays, which are working hard to harness the powerful rays of the sun. This could have numerous benefits, not only for the prisons, but for taxpayers as well.

Solar panels have been set up at numerous prisons throughout Colorado, including the San Carlos prison in Pueblo, the Colorado Territorial prison, the East Canon Prison Complex in Canon City, as well as the Arkansas Valley prison in Ordway. This new renewable energy project is predicted to save state taxpayers $475,000 in electricity costs during the course of the next 20 years by generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 80 homes.

"This innovative Department of Corrections project leverages Colorado's solar energy and bright minds to save money and energy," said Gov. John Hickenlooper, who flipped the switch to start the generating project April 22, according to iStock Analyst. "Offenders will also gain real work experience in Colorado's renewable energy field, helping our state's recidivism rates.”

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Inmates worked alongside MW Solar Solutions workers on the installation of the panels and even fabricated some of the clips used to hold the panels in place, says Colorado Correctional Industries Executive Director Steve Smith, according to iStock Analyst.

Solar energy is just the beginning for Colorado state prisons though. In addition to this solar energy project, many state prisons are working on replacing old light bulbs with eco-friendly light bulbs in fixtures fitted with motion sensors.

Now with these eco-friendly bulbs, when a worker leaves an office, the lights automatically turn off and come back on when the worker returns, said Maryann Aldrich, Territorial prison spokeswoman, according to iStock Analyst.

This renewable energy project can mean big things, not just for solar energy, but for hard-working taxpayers as well. Imagine all of the possible savings if every state prison started using solar power?