Energy Infrastructure Improvements on Alcatraz Island NHL

The original scope of this project was reduced to include only the installation of Photovoltaic (PV) Panels on the Prison Building and New Industries buildings to reduce the island's reliance on diesel-generated power and to help move toward the Park's goal of becoming carbon neutral.

Initial analysis of the PV system estimates the total system nameplate capacity at about 280 kilowatt (kW) direct current (DC) and annual energy production of the two arrays at 330,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. This would account for approximately 38 percent of the island's estimated existing annual load. The project would have also include placing a battery bank on the lower level of the New Industries Building that would provide up to 8 hours of power, which could be used to meet the nighttime electrical load on the island or in an emergency, discussed further below. Because the available roof area is not adequate for the PV system to provide enough electricity to power the island completely, the existing generators (upgraded from Tier 2 to Tier 3 emission standards) would remain in operation to make up the difference between the island's estimated existing annual electrical load and the PV system's production.

This project consisted of a set of actions to reduce Alcatraz energy dependence on burning fossil fuel, and with precautionary measures would result in no measurable adverse environmental effects. The project is therefore categorically excluded from further National Environmental Policy Act analysis. Please click on the Document List link to the left to view the Categorical Exclusion approval document.

Contact Information:
Liz Varnhagen, Environmental Protection Specialist, (415) 561-2888 or


Last updated: February 28, 2015

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