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Regenerative Energieagentur e.V.

Test Site






Santa Rosa Island (52,794 Acres) has hiking trails, primitive campground and offers beach exploration, wildlife observation, Ranger led hikes and vehicle tours, and kayak camping. It is the island with the most ambitious renewable energy projects currently under way.

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When the National Park Service purchased Santa Rosa Island in 1986 we assumed responsibility for it's utility operations. Included in that were the 35kW diesel generators which ran year round. In 1994 Channel Islands began seeking funding to install an alternative energy system to reduce operation of the generators on the island. In March 1995 a grant from the Federal Energy Management Program allowed us to proceed with the design and implementation of the installation of the hybrid wind/PV/Diesel system.

This roof and rack mounted, 11.4kW array provides 25-30% of the daily energy needs of the island. Included with the two 10kW Burgee Wind Turbines total anticipated reduction of diesel consumption for energy production on Santa Rosa Island is 93%.

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Currently on Santa Rosa there are a variety of renewable applications in use to include a hybrid 30 kW wind/PV/diesel main power system, a 4 kW hybrid wind/PV water pumping system, two 6.4 kW hybrid wind/PV residential power systems, five solar thermal systems, five pit toilet lighting/ventilation systems, one Handar weather station, three remote 12 volt lighting systems, and a PV attic fan on an ozone monitoring station. Other PV systems that have been used on the island have included two PV electric fence chargers and a PV powered boat hoist on the pier.

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In 1988 the park pioneered the first use in California of the "Infiltrator" type gravel less leach field systems. This prevented our having to ship thousands of tons of material to the islands and reduced demands for gravel mining. Currently the park has eight of these systems in use.

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In 1994 all the flush toilets in the Ranch area were replaced with low flush units which reduced energy demand for water pumping and effluent lift pumping, and as well greatly reduced repair cycle/costs on the grinder pumps.

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In FY 1997 construction began on the residential area for Park employees on Santa Rosa Island. We built 2 duplexes and in FY 2001 will build a 4 unit efficiency unit which all will be powered by stand alone wind/PV systems. Each facility incorporates energy efficient lighting, low flush toilets, efficient refrigeration, solar water heating, and utilize passive solar gain.
The two garages which support each 6.4 Kw roof mounted array and house the battery/inverter rooms were completed first and the two solar systems were put on line to power the construction of the duplexes. Since the spring of 1998 the duplexes have been occupied by park employees.

6.4 Kw rooftop solar array

6.4 Kw Rooftop solar array.

Battery and Inverter Room

Battery and Inverter Room

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In FY 1999 we constructed a 1600 sq ft vehicle repair shop on Santa Rosa Island which incorporated energy efficiency lighting and is powered by the hybrid wind/PV water pumping system which was expanded by 2.2 kW of PV and a backup propane generator. For heating the shop a hydrophonic solar slab heating system was installed.

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Currently we are investigating acquisition of an electric/PV utility vehicle for use in the ranch area to reduce diesel fuel usage.

If funding and fuel availability opportunities become avaliable we are considering operating the island on a B20 Biodiesel blend of fuel which is an alternative fuel. Currently vehicle and equipment use on the island average 500 gallons of fuel per month.

Santa Rosa Island Island Renewable Inventory-
Small Power (200 Watt or less) 11 each.
Remote Power (6.4 to 31.4 kW) 3 each.
Water Pumping (4 kW) 1 each.
Water preheating 4 each.
Solar Thermal Slab Heat 1 each.
Note- 8 of the PV and water systems are roof mounted.
Total of 20 systems on the island with 48.3 kW potential.

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Below is the project proposal and funding request for the Santa Rosa Island Wind/Solar Project.

Project Description and Summary
Project Overview
Environmental Considerations
Project Cost and Funding
Current Project Status


The Santa Rosa Island Hybrid Wind/Photovoltaic (W/PV) Project is designed to:
1. Promote the mandate for energy reduction by utilizing renewable energy resources.

2. Promote the use of renewable energy technology through demonstrated utilization of hybrid wind/photovoltaics.

3. Protect the environment through reduction of noise and exhaust pollution from existing generators and from the potential of an accidental diesel spill in a fragile marine environment.

4. Reduce energy consumption through utilization of advance lighting technology, efficient refrigeration and alternative heating loads.

5. Reduce overall costs of providing electrical generation at a remote island location.

6. Promote the publics understanding of and support for the application of alternative energy technology and utilization of conservation measures.

The proposed Santa Rosa Island W/PV project will demonstrate the utilization of technology in the application of a Bi-Modal inverter. The system will be a hybrid to utilize the abundant solar and wind resources available on the island without sole reliance due to regular weather changes of summer fogs and fall doldrums.

The project design includes two 10 kW Wind Generators, 12 kW Photovoltaic Array, 300 kW Battery Bank, 30 kW Inverter and System Controller to displace the majority of the 20,500 gallons of diesel fuel consumed annually.

As part of the overall package energy conservation measures are included to reduce demand on the system and demonstrate the ability to operate facilities with minimal energy consumption.

The economic analysis of the project confirms that the installation of the hybrid generation system on Santa Rosa Island is justified.

As part of the Grant Agreement with the County of Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District the project will be made available for public education and demonstration purposes. In addition regular park visitors will be presented with interpretive information on the project and conservation principles.


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Santa Rosa Island is a 52,794 acre island located 24 miles south west of the City of Santa Barbara California. It was incorporated in Channel Islands National Park in 1980 and purchased by the National Park Service on December 29th, 1986. With the purchase the government assumed liability and responsibility for the utility systems on the island and work commenced to upgrade the wells, wastewater treatment systems, water storage and distribution systems.

In September 1994 the electrical distribution, generation and fuel storage project was completed which included facilities for battery storage and alternative energy conversion. With this system now on line the National Park Service is actively seeking to convert the diesel generation system to one utilizing the abundant wind and solar resources available on the island.

From 4/15/89 to 3/1/90 a wind data study was performed by Dr. Mel Manalis of the University of California Santa Barbara which yielded a mean wind speed on the island of 15.6 MPH. The study revealed a potential to provide the majority of the islands electrical requirements through wind power with a supplemental source coming from photovoltaics.

In June 1990 Tim Ball of Solar Engineering Services/Applied Power provided the National Park Service with a Wind Energy System Study which gave preliminary planning and impetus for this proposed hybrid wind/photovoltaic system.

Before project implementation the National Park Service had been operating a 35 kW Diesel Generator 24 hours a day throughout the year to provide all electrical service for the island. Supplying the fuel for the island is costly and presents a continual potential for accidental fuel spillage. Estimated costs for providing electricity are $0.53 per kWh.

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As typical of many generation systems, loading and conservation do not always work in concert. Load studies reveal that while the generators are running lightly loaded the majority of the time there are unbalanced draws on the system which require the larger size generator. With conservation measures in place for refrigeration, lighting and some heating loads it will be possible to reduce system capacity, battery sizing requirements, alternative energy generation capacity and any backup diesel generator run time. The majority of the conservation effort were focused on replacing refrigeration/freezer units with super high efficiency models.

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The hybrid wind/photovoltaic power system consisted of the following seven components-

1. A 30 kW three phase bi-modal inverter will serve as the core of the system. The inverter utilizes technology similar to that for Glen Canyons Dangling Rope facility, to accept power input from multiple sources, control battery charging and provide uninterrupted seamless electricity to the distribution system. The inverter will receive input from the battery bank, wind generators, solar array and backup diesel generators and produce 208/120 AC electricity.

2. A system controller will automatically monitor system demand, power generation from solar and wind, and battery state. If required it will operate the generators to charge the battery bank to meet load demand.

3. Two 10 kW wind generators will serve as the primary power source. Multiple units will be utilized to minimize profile, allow for unit servicing and eliminate reliance on sole source components. AC output from the wind generators will feed to the inverter which will monitor demand and regulate utilization.

4. A 12 kW fixed solar array mounted on the roof of the electrical and fuel storage buildings and racked alongside will provide DC output for battery charging. The solar will serve as a continuous power source throughout the year.

5. A 300 kW Battery bank will serve as a large capacitor in the system, will store excess energy produced during high production periods and smooth out time differences between peak demands and production.

6. The existing new electrical distribution system will receive 208/120 from the inverter, provide for local service taps and transform power to 480 volts for distribution. At the service end the power is reduced to 120/240 for utilization. The use of transformers will provide modulated electricity after long runs and prevent voltage loss.

7. The existing 35 kW Diesel Generators will serve as backup for the system. They will be controlled by the system controller for automatic operation to provide power in the event that wind and solar production and battery storage are unable to meet system load requirements. When operating they will run at peak capacity to meet load demands and charge the battery storage bank until recharge levels allow for generator shutdown and normal operation to resume.


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Before project implementation the National Park Service had been operating the Santa Rosa Island 35 kW generators 24 hours a day. Annually this accounted for 8,760 hours of run time, direct consumption of 17,500 gallons of diesel fuel, use of 120 gallons of motor oil, and the discharge of 208 tons of carbon dioxide, 10,063 pounds of nitrous-oxides, 385 pounds of Total Suspended Particulates (TSP), 857 pounds of hydrocarbons, 500 pounds of sulfur dioxides and 14,200 pounds of carbon monoxide and generation of 120 gallons of hazardous waste oil and 87 fuel/oil filters.

Due to the logistics of supplying fuel to an island 45 miles offshore there are added costs for fuel delivers. For every 2400 gallons of fuel delivered it takes one boat trip consuming 350 gallons of fuel and 36 employee man hours. The hidden costs mean that our generation fuel is 57% more expensive than mainland fuel and 13% more BTU consumptive and pollutive.

Conversion of the diesel generation system to a hybrid wind/photovoltaic system will virtually eliminate generator run time. With the system on line it is estimated that annual generation run time will be only 500 hours a year, a reduction of 94%.

Due to the isolated location of Santa Rosa Island the logistics for supply of fuel require multiple pumping and handling operations. Fuel is transferred to a boats shipping tanks; then transferred at the island to a fuel truck and then from the fuel truck to the storage tanks. These three fuel transfers represent a potential for contamination to fragile marine environments and park lands even with containment measures in place. Over the 25 year life span of this project with the wind/photovoltaic system in place 343 fuel transfers involving 411,250 gallons of diesel fuel will not be required.

In the event of a fuel spill in the offshore marine environment, for response to a small spill (5,000 gallons or less) the current costs for cleanup range between $25-30,000 per barrel (50 gallons). In our case direct cleanup costs for one catastrophic fuel spill of our entire load would be between $1,200,000- $1,400,000 without considering costs for resource restoration. Only one spill in 25 years could easily be more than 3 times the cost of this proposed wind/photovoltaic project.

When considering the active air pollution, fossil fuel consumption, operational costs and potential for environmental contamination; the noise production of the generators is hardly worth a second thought. However the employees whose residences were within 200 feet of the power generation facility benefited in quality of life improvement through utilization of renewable resources for power supply.


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The cost for the hybrid wind/photovoltaic generation system is $337,462. The conservation measures will cost $37,294. The total estimated project cost is $375,294.

Below is a breakdown of project costs.

Santa Rosa Island Wind/Photovoltaic Project Cost Estimate
Material/Equipment Cost:
10 kW Wind Generators 3 EA @ $26,275. $ 78,825.
12 kW PV Array 208 Panels @ $289. $ 60,112.
Mounting Framework $ 8,100.
300 kW Battery $ 31,500.
Battery Racks/Connectors $ 5,000.
Electrical (Conduit, Wire, Switching) $ 24,000.
30 kW Inverter/Battery Charger $ 50,000.
System Controller $ 30,000.
Concrete 45yds $ 3,600.
Sub-Total $291,137.

Site Work:
Barging $ 2,450. Heavy Site Work (Trenching, Backhoe) $ 1,000.
Sub-Total $ 3,450.

Installation NPS Day Labor $ 28,000.

Wind/Photovoltaic Project Costs Totals $337,462.

Conservation Cost Estimate:
Lighting $ 1,807.
Residential Water Heating $ 1,425.
Residential Cooking $ 900.
Residential Refrigeration/Freezers $ 33,100.
Dryer Replacement $ 600. Sub-Total$ 37,832.

Total Project Costs $375,294.

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Non-Federal Funding
Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District $ 30,000 8.3 %

Non-Federal Funding Subtotal: $ 30,000 8.3 %

Federal Non-FEMP Funding
Channel Islands National Park $ 44,450 12.3%
Sandia National Laboratories $ 15,000 4.1%

Federal Funding Subtotal: $ 69,450 16.4%


TOTAL FUNDING NEEDED: $361,844 100 %



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With the Trace HY-30 inverter on line, generator operation time has been reduced by 68%. Currently both wind generators are out of service but it is anticipated that one will return to service this winter.


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Last Updated 12/28/2000