The jail’s microgrid comprises a rooftop solar array, wind turbines, a fuel cell, and a battery system. Sunshine runs the system during the day, with help from the batteries in cloudy weather. The fuel cell provides an additional power boost by turning fossil or alternative fuels into electricity.
The Santa Rita Jail is just one instance of a broader trend toward microgrids, Todd Woody writes. This is in part because microgrids do more than just cut back on fossil-fuel consumption: they also offer insurance against central power-system failures and natural disasters.