Should More RV Parks Switch To Solar Power?
The finishing touches on Dane County’s first solar-powered park and campground were completed this past April. The new solar power project at William G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park near Madison, Wisconsin will provide renewable electricity to campers and day-use visitors.
This endeavor is not the first of its kind. A growing number of campgrounds and RV parks around the country have already invested in solar energy.
“In addition to the jobs that were created, the tax dollars that are saved, the carbon that’s not created by this energy, it’s not really a question of should we do this. It’s a question of why would you not. It would be fiscally irresponsible not to invest in renewable energy, like we’re doing in Dane County,” said County Executive Joe Parisi.
Solar power system setup
William G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park is a section of the Capital Springs Recreation Area. The 328-acre park includes a campground, 3 shelter facilities, play equipment, barrier-free boat launch with a fish cleaning facility, wildlife pond, observation tower, and a handful of hiking and cross-country ski trails.
More than 460 panels were installed on buildings, including the roof of the shower building and a park shelter. The 66kW solar energy system will provide about 90% of the electricity consumed at the campground. This tally includes electric usage at the campground’s 39 sites.
Other solar projects
A second solar system was installed at the Lussier Family Heritage Center, an event venue just a short walk from the campground. Aside from the center, panels were added to a nearby park shelter. An electric vehicle charging station was also installed at the Lussier Center. This 76kW system will give the facility more than 90% of the power it needs.
“I’m thrilled to have these new solar projects powering our park to help inspire and educate people on the importance of protecting our environment and combating climate change,” said Parisi. “Our first solar-powered campground brings Dane County one step closer to achieving our commitment to becoming 100% renewable at county-owned facilities.”
Compared to other counties in Wisconsin, Dane County owns the most solar-powered systems, generating more than 800 kW of power.
You can view the news coverage on Dane County’s new solar power additions in the clip below.
Solar power and sustainability in campgrounds
A representative from Nuance Energy, a company that specializes in solar products and services, mentioned, “RV parks are often ideal sites for solar energy for two reasons: They have a large footprint and, as the equivalent of little towns, they consume a lot of electricity. RVers also tend to like the idea of conserving energy and getting it from renewable sources, making a park with solar energy production all the more appealing as a place to stay for a while.”
RV parks and campgrounds that have embraced solar power have not only lowered their carbon footprint. They have also brought a new experience to the camper. The new Panelview RV Park in Hermiston, Oregon has an interesting set-up. Each RV site has a 3kW solar panel mounted on a pole. The panel provides shade for the RV. Plus, on a sunny day, more energy can be produced than a motorhome can use.
Tucson/Lazydays KOA Resort in Arizona has solar structures that shelter 30 RV sites.
“We have a massive Solar Parasol structure that covers two acres of RV sites at our Tucson/Lazydays KOA Resort in Arizona,” KOA president and CEO Toby O’Rourke said. “That structure supplies more than enough power for the campground while providing partial cooling shade for the RVs parked beneath it.”
With so many advantages to the campground and campers (and not to mention the environment), we may see even more RV parks jump on the solar power train.
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Continue reading: Can Solar Panels Power an RV Air Conditioner?