Lowry Park Zoo goes solar with new PV panels and renewable energy system

As stated in this article from USF News:

"Our project seeks to deliver electric power that is not only reliable, but also compatible with a natural environment, in harmony with people and animals," said Alex Domijan, professor in the USF College of Engineering and director of the Power Center for Utility Explorations. "Although the electricity grid has been designed for a one-way transfer of power from central station generators to consumers, with the distributed generation system being developed at the zoo using on-site renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaics, the grid's controls can be adapted for reverse power flows."

TECO also anticipates the zoo's example will encourage people to "go solar" and tap into this renewable resource (which we have plenty of, being the Sunshine State).

Shelly Aubuchon, TECO's renewable energy program manager states, "We want to encourage customers to install their own solar on their homes. This brings our peak load demands down in the middle of the day."

To read more about this project, see these articles from USF News and 83 Degrees.

click to enlarge Lowry Park Zoo goes solar with new PV panels and renewable energy system

A few days before Christmas, the newest additions to the Lowry Park Zoo were finished and unveiled (and I'm not talking about penguins or baby pandas): 65 solar photovoltaic (PV) cells that are attached to the shade structure and night house in the elephant quarters.

This $800,000 project that was funded by TECO (Tampa Electric Co.) and a grant from the Florida High Tech Corridor, was part of a project by Lowry Park Zoo, TECO, and the University of South Florida's Power Center for Utility Explorations to develop, design and test a renewable solar energy system, including electricity grid, at the zoo. Right now, the PV panels create enough energy to power the zoo's Treetop Skyfari sky ride, creating 15 kilowatts of electricity from solar energy.

The next step in this project will be to create an interactive learning center to educate the million guests the zoo welcomes each year about solar power and renewable energy sources. This project, designed in part by students at USF's School of Architecture and Community Design, is set to start in the coming months.

Scroll to read more Florida News articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]