Solar Power at Cayo Costa

A view of the solar panels.

Cayo Costa, a remote island off of Florida’s southwest coast, has long been home to the self-sufficient and resourceful. Archaeological research has shown us that people belonging to the Caloosahatchee culture thrived on Cayo Costa as far back as 4,000 years ago. The same fish and shellfish resources that made this area attractive to the Calusa also drew Cuban fishermen and their families here in the 19th and 20th centuries. On this frontier outpost, residents dug their own wells, grew crops and lived off the sea.

The same spirit of self-sufficiency and living in tune with the environment drove a recent change that many visitors notice as soon as they step off the boat. The pier shelter’s roof is adorned with shiny blue-black solar cells. In 2017, construction was completed on a state-of-the-art solar system.

The solar power system at Cayo Costa State Park was developed to reduce the park’s dependency on noisy, unreliable diesel generators and take advantage of the island’s many sunny days.

Before the installation of the solar power system, the park drew power from two generators running 24 hours a day, every day! The rangers on this isolated spit of land dealt with many problems that the dependence on one system created.

Even when working properly, the system required maintenance and fuel. Transporting fuel and repair parts took significant logistical and planning considerations. Emergency repairs required even more resources and staff time. These problems worsened visitors’ experiences and distracted rangers from their other duties.

The installation of this solar charging system provides three great benefits. It saves taxpayer resources and protects the sensitive, pristine environment of Cayo Costa. Diversifying power sources reduces risk to the system in the event of a storm or other emergency. We’re proud of the ways the new solar power system helps improve infrastructure stability and enhances your experience.