(Updated with new photo) The 30-year-old Ronald McDonald House in San Diego, a 47-bedroom facility that serves as a shelter for families with seriously ill children in local hospitals, is the first of the non-profit's facilities to invest in solar technology. The installation was undertaken to reduce electricity costs so that more of the charity's money could go to direct services for the families.
The project, handled by Canadian Solar and installer HelioPower, boasts 518 panels that create a 116-kilowatt array on the rooftop. The panels are expected to produce about 147,846 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year; the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions offset is 151,420 pounds. PV Powered was responsible for supplying a 100-kilowatt inverter. The organizations offered their services at a reduced cost so that more money could go back into the charity, according to a statement released about the installation.
The Ronald McDonald House in San Diego is seeking a certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The solar is one step toward that certification. Overall, the building in question already uses approximately 17.5 percent less power than similar buildings in California.