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14 green prisons

array of solar panels in China

Photo: ZUMA Press

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Wallkill Correctional Facility, New York

Solar power has arrived at this 600-bed, medium-security facility south of Albany, N.Y. Timesunion.com reports that a newly installed solar-heated water system will use an evacuated tube system, which captures solar energy through a series of double glass tubes that are used to heat a fluid. That fluid is then used to heat the prison’s water system. The new system will eliminate the 5,400 gallons of oil needed to run the old steam system at Wallkill. Based on a $3 per gallon cost of oil, that should save New York $16,200 a year. The cost of the system is about $343,000, more than two-thirds of which was covered by a renewable energy grant from the state’s power authority. The Wallkill project, which went online in early 2010, was named the best government solar project in the state by New York’s Solar Energy Industries Association.