Mage Solar, a provider of turnkey PV solutions, and Salt Service, a provider of renewable energy systems, have completed the installation of a 24kW off-grid PV system on Pigeon Key island in the Florida Keys.

Pigeon Key is only accessible by water or a 2.2 mile footbridge and has no connection to the power grid. Similar to the other islands in the Florida Keys, the island is dependent on diesel generators for electricity.

The solar array represents the first of its kind on the island. Salt Service designed, developed and installed the solar canopy which is situated between Key West and Key Largo on 158 square metres of land. The company installed 96 250Wp Mage Powertec Plus monocrystalline PV modules which were transported to the island by boat. The modules are mounted onto a bespoke aluminium frame which is designed to withstand windspeed of up to 180 miles per hour.

Electricity generated by the solar array will be consumed by the Pigeon Key Foundation which operates a Marine Science Centre and a museum detailing the island’s history.

The project was partly financed by a grant from the Tourist Development Committee which contributed 50% of the total cost.

“The installation of solar power was a natural choice,” said Pigeon Key Foundation Chairman Jason Koler. “The diesel system, while revolutionary when it was installed, became an increasing environmental and financial liability. Our mission is to protect our natural resources and with this new power source we will continue to inspire a new generation of environmental stewards.”

Salt Service’s President, Chuck Meier, added: “Salt is honoured to have played a key role in this world class installation that will provide functional and educational benefits for many years.  It was very rewarding to observe the expression on the faces of those who have been operating and maintaining the generators for years when the solar was turned on and the generator turned off.  Everyone enjoyed the overwhelming ‘sound of silence’.”