Local News

Cape Lookout lighthouse goes solar

Posted May 13

— The National Park Service announced this week that a solar electric system at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and its keepers’ quarters had been completed, with a celebration set to be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

A ribbon will be cut during the ceremony to acknowledge the new photovoltaic system and attendees will have the opportunity climb the lighthouse to kick off the opening of the lighthouse for the summer season.

Until the installation of the solar energy system, the lighthouse was powered on a combination of diesel generators and shore power.

The solar farm contains 60 300-watt panels with 102.5 kilowatt-hours of reserve power. A backup generator is present in case of an emergency.

The lighthouse now no longer needs fossil fuel energy, seashore officials said. The new system provides environmental benefits and ends the labor-intensive maintenance of generators that used to power the lighthouse complex. The National Park Service and the Coast Guard will partner to ensure reliability of the beacon.

The new solar system is now added to other solar energy systems at the Cape Lookout Light Station Visitors Center and the park’s Harkers Island maintenance facility.

The project was managed by DOT Construction of Morehead City and installation of the system was done by PowerHouse of Newport.

Those planning to attend the free May 16 event should RSVP by May 15. Ferries will depart from the lighthouse dock at 8:45 a.m. and run for every half hour after that. Light snacks and refreshments will be available.

On the evening of May 16, NPS will be hosting an informational session on a new community-based volunteer program to assist with tours of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. Park officials said more volunteers would allow for the lighthouse to be open seven days a week.

Those interested in learning more about volunteering at the lighthouse are invited to join park officials at 6 p.m. at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum on Harkers Island. A light supper will be served, and attendees will be given a presentation with more details on what volunteering entails. Park officials will answer questions following the presentation.

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