News Releases

Ironwood State Prison Activates Zero-Emission Solar Power System

System Deployed Under Public-Private Partnership with SunEdison to Produce Over 2.4 Million Kilowatt Hours in First Year

BLYTHE – Ironwood State Prison (Ironwood) and SunEdison today announced the activation of a new 1.18 megawatt (MW) ground-mounted photovoltaic solar photovoltaic system. The photovoltaic system, which will deliver 2.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean renewable energy in the first year of operation, was deployed through an innovative public-private partnership between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and SunEdison, North America’s largest solar energy services provider.

Under a solar power services agreement (SPSA) SunEdison financed, constructed and will operate the solar energy system. The CDCR avoids all upfront capital costs and will purchase the solar energy at predictable prices equal to or less than current retail rates. The solar system will produce no greenhouse gases, no noise and will use no water in operation.

According to Ironwood Warden Debra Dexter, “We are strongly committed to being a good neighbor and in doing what’s right for our community. Leveraging our most plentiful natural resource – the desert sun – while protecting a limited local resource – water – makes both environmental and fiscal sense for Ironwood and California taxpayers. This partnership with SunEdison makes it possible for Ironwood Prison to be the community’s host for solar energy.”

Activation of the zero-emission solar power system is a major step for Ironwood in meeting the CDCR’s energy management goals as well as Governor Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order S-20-04. The order mandates that State agencies evaluate the merits of using clean and renewable on-site energy generation technologies in all new building or large renovation projects, and take measures to reduce grid-based energy purchases for state-owned buildings by 20 percent by 2015, through cost-effective efficiency measures and distributed generation technologies. Over twenty years of operation, the Ironwood system will produce more than 43 million kWh of solar energy, the equivalent to powering 4,107 homes and removing 3,770 cars off the road annually.

Harry Franey, Chief of Energy Management and Sustainability Section for CDCR, described the project, “This system at Ironwood has more than 6,200 PV panels that utilize the sun, our greatest natural resource. Plus, they require no water to operate, which makes PV a perfect solar technology for this region. In the first year, the system will produce more than 2.4 million kilowatt hours of clean renewable solar energy. That has an immediate beneficial impact upon our environment.”

CDCR’s Deborah Hysen, Chief Deputy Secretary, Facilities, Planning and Construction, said, “The power of this innovative public-private partnership allows us to meet the environmental goals of both the CDCR and of the State of California. We’re helping to clean the air, and simultaneously relieve some of the ever increasing pressure on the electric utility grid.”

“SunEdison is extremely proud to be part of this public-private partnership with the Ironwood State Prison and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to deploy clean renewable energy,” said Thomas (Tom) Rainwater, CEO of SunEdison. “This is truly a long-term partnership, where the solar power produced at Ironwood will support our partner’s commitment to being a good community member.”

Ironwood is the second PV system SunEdison is managing under an SPSA for CDCR. In June 2006, SunEdison activated a 1.16 MW solar power system at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison. The PV system at Chuckawalla has produced more than 3.7 million kWh since commercial activation.

Over 20 years of production, the system will offset 31,627,817 lbs of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of removing 3,100 cars from the road. It will produce 35,981,589 kWh over 20 years, the equivalent of powering 3,377 homes.

Encouraged by the success of the CVSP and ISP systems, CDCR is accelerating the process to install PV systems at 10 additional facilities. The additional installations will add significantly to the department’s renewable energy portfolio and put the department on track to exceed the power grid reductions specified in Executive Order S-20-04.

About Ironwood State Prison
The primary mission of Ironwood State Prison (ISP) is to improve public safety through the confinement of minimum and medium custody male offenders, while providing them the life improvement skills needed to successfully re-integrate back into society upon parole. ISP is comprised of four (4) Level III (medium security) facilities within its security perimeter and (1) Minimum Support Facility (minimum security) outside of the security perimeter area. ISP was opened February 1, 1994, covers 1,700 acres and houses approximately 4,524 inmates.

About California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
CDCR is California’s correctional agency, consisting of the Division of Adult Operations, the Division of Adult Programs and the Division of Juvenile Justice. CDCR employs 66,580 people at 33 adult prisons, 38 conservation camps, 8 youth facilities, and at its 4 Sacramento area offices. Its current operating budget is $10.7 billion. CDCR is a member California Climate Action Registry (CCAR), a public/private partnership created by the State to encourage companies, government agencies and other organizations that do business in California to voluntarily measure and report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

About SunEdison
Sun Edison LLC is North America’s largest solar energy services provider and operates across a global marketplace. SunEdison provides solar-generated energy at or below current retail utility rates to a broad and diverse client base of commercial, municipal and utility customers. For more information about SunEdison, please visit

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