Solar At Presque Isle: DCNR Celebrates Beach 8 Solar Arrays – Insure With Ease

Press release shared by the Pennsylvania PressroomJune 7, 2024. Photo courtesy of Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn recently visited Presque Isle State Park to celebrate newly installed solar arrays that produce enough renewable energy to power the peninsula at the park.

Governor Josh Shapiro recently unveiled the Commonwealth’s renewable energy initiative, the Pennsylvania Project to Utilize Light and Solar Energy (PA PULSE), to secure 50 percent of the energy needed power the Commonwealth’s government from 10 new solar arrays around Pennsylvania by next year, making it a national leader in clean energy.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is taking a similar step at Presque Isle with a 280kW solar canopy array over the parking lot at Beach 8 that will save the department — and taxpayers — more than $30,000 on electricity annually while producing enough energy to power 25 average American homes.

The solar array helps reduce the department’s carbon footprint by more than 211,000 pounds a year, or the equivalent of removing 20 passenger cars from the road annually.

“These solar arrays will provide 100 percent of the peninsula’s energy going forward and I am so glad to be here today delivering on our net zero electricity promise from nearly three years ago,” Dunn said. “This is a big win for park visitors who now have a shady area to park, for operations at Presque Isle, and for the environment through a greener way to power its grid. Thank you the department’s Bureau of Facility Construction and Design Team, Presque Isle State Park staff, regional staff, our sustainability team, and everyone who helped make our most visited state park a living example of sustainability.”

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources plans to derive 50 percent of its electric from renewable energy sources by 2030which will be accomplished mostly through solar arrays.

“We continue to work to make this park a more environmentally friendly place to visit and are hopeful that the public sees the value of renewable energy and sustainable solutions,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Director of Applied Climate Science Greg Czarnecki said. “We have exciting and challenging work ahead in the sustainability space and Presque Isle remains a leader among our state park system.”

Dunn pointed to three public electric vehicle charging stations at Beach 8, and the addition of a plugin hybrid minivan and electric motorcycle added to Presque Isle’s vehicle fleet at the time of the 2021 announcement of the Beach 8 solar array and Presque Isle’s sustainability plan.

Other improvements from the plan included:​

  • Rain gardens at Beach 8
  • Shoreline enhancements to protect infrastructure
  • Purchase of property to the south of the park, including a portion of the badly eroding Scott Run
  • Modifications to the park’s wastewater system
  • Installation of extensions to the floating dock pilings in the marina to account for fluctuating water levels
  • Presque Isle is the first state park to adopt a site-specific climate change plan.

Severe weather, flooding, fluctuating lake levels, diminished water quality, shoreline erosion, infrastructure damage, and other threats to visitor and staff safety served as the impetus for the plan.

The proactive measures to address climate change and to reduce energy consumption will help mitigate those projected effects and ensure the park remains open to the millions who visit each year.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is working to incorporate sustainable designs and certified high-performance building standards into newly constructed and renovated buildings, which includes the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle.

Other planned sustainability initiatives for department properties includes additional solar arrays, electric vehicle charging stations, reduction of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles within the agency’s fleet, and more.

Learn about the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources climate and sustainability initiatives on the agency website and check out the department’s Calendar of Events​ for events on public lands.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson717-877-6315

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