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Recycling Center Helps Feed the Power Grid


Valley Community for Recycling Solutions (VCRS) continues to find exciting ways to utilize renewable energy to provide power for the Resource Recovery Park and recycling center near the Mat-Su Central Landfill. In October the newest piece of their renewable energy system was installed, a Kestrel e300i wind generator. The Kestrel now adds to the power being produced by a 4.23kW solar panel array which was installed in May 2011. While supplying a portion of their own power, VCRS is also uploading the data from these energy systems and making it available to the public for free on the World Wide Web.

The Kestrel is the next generation of small wind turbines. It generates electricity starting at 5.5mph, while it will produce its rated power of 1000Watts, or 1kilowatt at 24.5mph. A unique attribute of this machine is its ability to produce rated power at wind speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. In high winds the three blades feather back to expose less surface area to the wind while still turning to generate energy. Other turbines have to “brake” the blades to slow them down and some turbines just shut down until high winds subside.

Also installed in October was an anemometer to measure wind speed along with the software and hookups to feed live data from the solar panels, wind turbine, and anemometer to a publicly accessible website on the internet. The real time data allows comparison of solar to wind energy generation for consumers to explore their options as well as providing valuable information for research and development of latitude and longitude appropriate systems. To view the live data, go to www.sunnyportal.com, click on the “publicly available plants” button and enter VCRS.

The renewable energy sources reduce the carbon footprint of VCRS and ultimately their electrical bills. Any additional power generated, not used by VCRS, is fed back into the local MEA utility grid. In the future, VCRS envisions having a bank of batteries installed which will store enough energy to provide an additional emergency shelter for the Mat-Su.

VCRS partnered with Wal-Mart who provided the majority of funding and with Renewable Energy Systems and Ahtna Engineering Services for technical expertise to make this cutting edge renewable energy project possible.

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