North Kern State prison chosen to "Go Green," installs solar field and water conservation systems

Solar fields installed to save energy

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A little ray of sunshine is making a big difference at state prisons across California thanks to solar energy fields.

There are 32 prisons in California.

Four of them have been chosen to go green with solar panels.

North Kern State prison is one of them.

"We're excited about being one of the initial institutions that's trying to make a big step in the going green process for the state of California," said prison Lt. George Becerra.

Becerra says solar fields were built on nearly 40 acres of prison land starting in May 2011 and went fully online last month.

The 5.7 megawatt system helps to power the prison.

A GPS system follows the sun's movement receiving 33 percent more energy than if it were to stay still.

The system reduces greenhouse gas emissions while estimated to save $13 million in energy costs over the next 20 years.

But that's not all the prison is doing to go green.

"We've also done waterless water heaters for our institution, which will give us savings there," said Becerra.

All of the energy saving projects are paid for without tax dollars and are financed through low or no interest loans.

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