Solar panel array to help heat, power Ohio prison

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (AP) — Ohio is ready to unveil a large solar panel project at a prison aimed at saving $245,000 in annual energy costs while training inmates to install and maintain the panels as a route to future jobs.

The 400 panels at Ross Correctional Institution in Chillicothe (chihl-ih-KAHTH'-ee) will be the primary source for hot water and space heating in eight cell blocks.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction plans tours Wednesday at the prison, 50 miles south of Columbus.

The company providing the panels is Indianapolis-based Solar America Solutions. It says the project is the largest non-utility solar installation in North America. It already has offered one inmate an installation job upon his release.

Jails in Tennessee and Utah and prisons in Indiana and Wisconsin are among other correctional facilities with significant solar panel projects.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.