Toledo Zoo Solar Field and Solar Walkway

"By using cleaner and greener energy, we become better stewards of the Earth," Zoo Executive Director Ann Baker told about 100 people attending the ceremonial dedication of the walkway. "It inspires others to join us."

The world’s most abundant resource — sunlight — is being harnessed and is now responsible for providing approximately 30% of the Toledo Zoo’s annual electricity needs.  JDRM Engineering provided the engineering services for the 2.1-megawatt solar array installation spanning 28,500 solar panels across 15 acres. The project reduced urban blight and transformed  land contaminated by past industrial practices, known as a brownfield site, into an energy generating arena. The public-private partnership which owns the array sells the electricity generated at the site exclusively to the Toledo Zoo.  The site totals 22 acres and JDRM engineered the project so additional panels could be added at a later date.

SolarWalk, the Zoo’s 1,400-foot walkway was installed in a high-volume visitor thoroughfare between the Zoo’s parking lots and the main entrance. This engineering project included artistically arranging the solar panels on supporting structures which include benches for rest stops and graphic panels describing aspects of alternative energy.  While a much smaller installation, the SolarWalk produces about 104,435 kilowatt hours of electricity each year. That’s enough to power 10 average-size Ohio homes and save 75 metric tons of carbon dioxide (the most prevalent greenhouse gas associated with climate change) annually.

For more information on these projects visit The Toledo Blade’s articles on the 2.1 megawatt solar array installation and the SolarWalk, as well as an update on the actual performance of the array published a year after completion.

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