Fort Sumter could soon attack conventional energy use.
A study is under way to determine if solar panels and a hydrogen fuel-cell backup power system can be installed at Fort Sumter to replace its electric line in such a way that they will not intrude on the national monument's historic integrity.
If all goes as planned, the new energy-producing systems will be in place as early as next summer, a few short months after the 150th anniversary of the structure's pivotal place in American history.
"It's a first as far as we know," said Sandy Pusey, acting facility manager at Fort Sumter National Monument.
The combined technologies have been incorporated in military facilities, and solar panels have been installed in large, open National Park Service areas where they were unobtrusive, but they have never been placed on an isolated historic site where their presence has to be balanced with history, Pusey said.
The $1.4 million federally and state-funded project, which captures sunlight to power the fort and uses hydrogen fuel cells as a backup instead of the diesel-electric generator now on site, could save the National Park Service about $10,000 a year in conventional power costs and cut 86,000 kilowatt hours each year from the electric grid.
Read more in Wednesday's editions of The Post and Courier.