The Cape Lookout Lighthouse on the Crystal Coast will switch to a solar-powered system this week.
Mike Gauthier is the superintendent at Cape Lookout National Seashore. He said the park is happy to move its energy source for several buildings to an off-grid system, free of fossil fuel use.
“It's a big breakthrough for the park because it's taking us off of a generator which has currently been powering some of those systems,” he said. “It's a great benefit to the visitor experience because there's no longer a generator running, so you don't hear that industrial purr as you're sort of at a natural, beautiful setting.”
It’s also less work. Previously, workers would haul fuel out to the lighthouse.
“And so this prevents us from having to do that work. So it's saving us a lot of work, it's saving us exposure of transporting fuel, it's improving the visitor's experience and it's putting us on basically an off-grid green system that will work for us for the next 30 years,” he said.
The Coast Guard is also considering changing the lighthouse beacon to an LED light, which requires less energy to run. Gauthier said the park expects that decision to be made soon and the light may be changed by next fall.