03 January 2013
Mage Solar and Salt Service today announced the completion of a 24kW PV system with battery backup on Pigeon Key, a historical island in the Florida Keys.
The Key’s first solar array on historical grounds will provide a good percentage of the energy needs to run the island’s museum and the marine center, and will reduce CO2-emissions by almost 61 tons annually.
Salt Service, a Marathon, Florida-based solar integrator designed, developed and executed the installation of the 24 kW array. All 96 of the high-yielding 250 Wp Mage Powertec Plus monocrystalline PV-modules had to be transported by boat to the island before they could be mounted onto a custom-built aluminum frame designed to withstand 180 mph wind loads.
The 1,700-square-foot canopy will serve as a picnic area for the thousands of visitors who can now enjoy the stunning setting of the island in the shade and shelter of the array.
Pigeon Key is located between Key West and Key Largo and well known as a paradise for snorkelers with its pristine turquoise waters and sea life. In sight of US Highway 1, it is accessible only by waterway or through a 2.2-mile pedestrian bridge.
Without any connection to the power grid, the island, like many off-grid locations in the Keys, is dependent on diesel generators for electricity. The fuel for these generators typically had to be transported by ferry from the mainland, which had been not only a rather expensive but also extremely risky transport environmentally in the delicate ecosystem of the Keys.
Within this sensitive ecosystem, the Pigeon Key Foundation operates a Marine Science Center for children as well as adults and a museum detailing the island’s history. Seven of the island’s 12 buildings are on the national register of historic places.
In addition to the challenges of being in a flood and hurricane zone, limited to ferry access for construction, this project required coordination between The Pigeon Key Foundation, Monroe County Commissioners and Building Permit personnel, Salt Service, The Tourist Development Council and the Historical Preservation Committee in addition to Mage Solar and other solar product providers and specialty contractors.