Cincinnati Zoo Adds Solar Array - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  February 15, 2024

Cincinnati Zoo Adds Solar Array

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden broke ground earlier in February on a 2.8 MW Melink Solar solar array.

The new solar project will provide shade for cars and buses in its Euclid Ave parking lot while generating power for the Zoo and its neighbors.

The Zoo added the use of renewable energy previously; in 2011, it installed a 1.56 MW solar array over its main parking lot.

This additional array will move the Zoo closer to its goal to be net zero by 2025.

“We have big plans for solar in 2024,” said Mark Fisher, Cincinnati Zoo’s VP of facilities and sustainability, in a statement. “Solar technology, and our understanding of how to use it, has evolved dramatically since we erected our first solar array in 2006 on the Zoo’s education building. This new array is a good example of that.  It will occupy less physical space but will generate almost twice as much power as the current array. Once it’s online, two thirds of the Zoo’s electrical needs will come from our parking lots.”

Extra solar panels will also be shared. Instead of paying to ship a half-empty crate of panels to the Zoo, extra panels were ordered to fill the container. The 165 kW of panels will be donated to the Zoo’s Community Solar Resiliency Program (CSRP) and used to install arrays in Avondale, East Price Hill, and Bond Hill.

A large portion of its 600-acre farm in Warren County is now home to one of the largest solar arrays in southwest Ohio. The renewable energy generated by this 30 MW array will be bought by companies in the area to help them lower their emissions. 

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