The Cameron Park Zoo in Waco is now partially powered by the sun, thanks to Green Mountain Energy Company and its customers. Green Mountain, Texas' first competitive retail electric provider to offer cleaner energy, donated $140,000 to the Zoo through the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club SM to fund two different solar array systems.
The new solar array systems are installed on the roofs of the Zoo's new stone, metal and wood Pavilion and the “Brazos at Night” exhibit. The solar systems will help reduce the Zoo's carbon footprint and energy costs, as well as be used to educate Zoo visitors about the benefits of solar energy.
City Manager Larry Groth and Cameron Park Zoo Director Jim Fleshman joined Jim Vaughan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce; Green Mountain President Paul Markovich; and the company's Super Earth Mascot to officially “flip the switch” and dedicate the Zoo's solar arrays today during a ceremonial dedication. The Cameron Park Zoo is located at 1701 N. 4th St., Waco.
“We are thrilled that Cameron Park Zoo, an organization dedicated to supporting the environment, conservation awareness and preserving exotic animal species, was able to build two solar arrays through our Sun Club donation,” said Paul Markovich, President, Residential Services, Green Mountain Energy Company. “Green Mountain has been serving customers throughout Waco and the surrounding communities since 2002. Donating solar systems like this one helps us give back to the communities where our customers live, work, shop and play, while supporting our mission to change the way power is made.”
Cameron Park Zoo Pavilion Solar Array
The new 16 kilowatt (kW) solar array is 1,254 square feet. It was built with 68 large solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and is located in the Meadows area of the Zoo.
Brazos at Night Solar Array
The new 11 kW solar array is nearly 800 square feet. It was built with 47 large solar PV panels. The Brazos at Night building houses the nocturnal animals found along the banks of the Brazos River.
The combined capacity of the two solar arrays is equivalent to 27 kW, which are expected to produce nearly 38,000 kWh of clean electricity per year by converting sunlight into pollution-free electricity. The cumulative environmental impact of the two arrays is the same as avoiding more than 50,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. That's the equivalent of not driving over 55,000 miles or more than 14,000 houses turning off all of their lights for one day. A sign about the Zoo's arrays and information about solar energy will be placed near the Pavillion.
Jim Fleshman, director of Cameron Park Zoo, said,“This is a very exciting time for us as we embrace our mission in many different ways at the Zoo. We know that our visitors will enjoy the Pavilion, and we also want them to learn about alternative energy forms.”
Green Mountain funded Cameron Park Zoo's solar array through its Sun Club, a unique program in which Green Mountain's Texas customers can choose to support solar energy installations in the Lone Star State by paying an additional $5 on their monthly Green Mountain Energy® electric bill (for information, visit gmsunclub.com). This is the 31st solar project built in Texas thanks to the Sun Club since 2002 and the second in Waco. The first Waco installation was a 9.6 kW solar array on the new LEED-certified Waco Chamber of Commerce building in 2008.
The new 6,070 square foot stone, metal, and wood pavilion will hold special events such as weddings, corporate parties, and family reunions. Building a covered Pavilion will also allow the Zoo to schedule temporary, traveling exhibits and hold various lectures and educational offerings, as well as concerts. The Pavilion is also intended to be a teaching tool.
Cameron Park Zoo
The Cameron Park Zoo (cameronparkzoo.com) is an award winning natural habitat Zoo located in Waco, Texas. Our mission is to promote conservation awareness and cultural enrichment through education and recreation, to be a survival center for native and exotic animal species, and an active community partner in economic development through tourism.
About Green Mountain Energy Company
Green Mountain (GreenMountain.com), the nation's leading competitive retail provider of cleaner energy and carbon offset solutions, was founded in 1997 to “change the way power is made.” The company is the longest serving green power marketer in the U.S. Green Mountain offers consumers and businesses the choice of clean electricity products from renewable sources, such as wind, as well as a variety of carbon offset products. Green Mountain's largest customer is the “world's most famous office building,” the Empire State Building in New York City. Green Mountain customers have collectively helped avoid over 11.3 billion pounds of CO2 emissions. As a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Green Mountain is backed by one of the nation's largest renewable power producers.