President Grant historic home from the 1880s goes off-grid with solar + storage system

A New York historic home where President Ulysses S. Grant completed his memoirs shortly before his death in 1885, has gone off-grid with a solar + storage system.

The Grant Cottage State Historic Site, which is run by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, now has a 34.2-kW solar system with 48 batteries to run 100% off-grid.

Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO of NYSERDA, said, “The Grant Cottage State Historic Site project demonstrates historically significant structures can be brought up to modern day standards through the incorporation of clean energy resources such as solar and energy storage thereby ensuring the preservation of these important historic landmarks. The state is leaving no stone unturned in reviewing its building stock — from commercial to residential to historical — in our fight on climate change, and I commend NYS Parks for its leadership role in this work.”

The $400,000 project includes 90 solar panels and 48 batteries. The battery system will enable Grant’s Cottage to become the first New York State Park facility to disconnect completely from the electric energy grid. State Parks staff of trained solar technicians performed the installation, which includes a generator for emergency use. Training assistance was provided by staff from Hudson Valley Community College.

Previously, Grant Cottage — a remote, mountainous site — was receiving electricity through utility lines from the nearby former Mount McGregor Correctional Facility. The 43-acre Saratoga County property includes a two-story residence where Grant, diagnosed with terminal throat cancer, went to complete his memoirs for six weeks immediately prior to his death in July 1885.

Open to the public seasonally by the Friends of the Ulysses S. Grant Cottage, visitors can tour its first-floor original furnishings, decorations, and personal items belonging to Grant. Tours are scheduled to resume for the season in May 2021. The site was named a National Historic Landmark in January 2021 by the National Park Service.

Since 2012, New York State Parks has installed 33 solar array projects at facilities across the state, and the end of this year will cover about 15% of its total statewide energy consumption though solar power. By 2027, the Parks has a goal of covering half of its electricity needs through renewable energy.

News item from New York State Parks