The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) and Austin-based Green Mountain Energy Company today announced a donation to help fund the installation of an advanced solar photovoltaic system on BRIT’s new $48 million headquarters in the Fort Worth Cultural District. Green Mountain presented BRIT with a check for $130,000 towards the new 51.87 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system manufactured by Solyndra. BRIT’s new 70,000 square-foot facility will be located at 1700 N. University Drive, Fort Worth, Texas, 76107.
Green-Mountain-BRIT-Check_“The solar photovoltaic system is a key energy saving component that helps demonstrate BRIT’s commitment to sustainable design and environmental responsibility,” says Dr. S. H. Sohmer Ph.D., FLS, BRIT's president and director. “We are pleased and honored that Green Mountain Energy Company, through its Big Texas Sun Club® solar donation program, is helping us achieve our sustainability and conservation goals.”
BRIT is seeking the platinum certification in the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ which would be the first such building in Tarrant County, the second in North Texas and the eighth in Texas.
“Green Mountain is especially pleased and proud to make a donation toward the photovoltaic system for BRIT, an organization that’s dedicated to conserving our natural heritage and educating the public about the value of plants,” said Paul Markovich, President, Residential Services, Green Mountain Energy Company. “Green Mountain has been serving customers throughout the Fort Worth metropolitan-area since 2002. Donating to help build solar systems like this one allows 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.”
The cylindrical-designed tubes of the solar photovoltaic system are installed on the Archive Block roof of the BRIT facility and will help reduce the building’s energy use and carbon footprint, as well as educate visitors about the benefits of solar energy. The cylindrical tube design uses innovative cylindrical copper indium germanium diselenide (CIGS modules) and thin-film technology. The BRIT photovoltaic system is being built with 285 solar panels. Each panel is made up of 40 individual modules, wired in parallel for high current, which capture sunlight across a 360-degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity.
Green Mountain helped fund BRIT’s new photovoltaic system through its Big Texas Sun Club (bigtexassunclub.com), a unique program in which Green Mountain’s Texas customers can choose to support solar energy installations in Texas by contributing an additional $5 on their monthly Green Mountain Energy® electricity bill. This will be the 27th solar project built in Texas thanks in part to the Big Texas Sun Club. With this installation, Green Mountain’s Big Texas Sun Club will be responsible for helping to create over 320 kW of new solar energy capacity in Texas since 2002.
The Green Mountain Energy Solar at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas is expected to produce more than 65,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year by converting sunlight into pollution-free electricity. Together, the 285 large solar panels will be over 5,943 square feet and are expected to offset as much as 84,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. That's the equivalent of not driving over 86,800 miles annually, or 362 one way road trips from Dallas to Houston.
An informative sign about the photovoltaic system and information about solar energy will be placed inside the building lobby to help educate patrons on solar energy and its importance. A monitoring web site will also be linked to the array to display real-time energy output data that anyone with Internet access can view.
The solar photovoltaic system will be dedicated on Saturday, May 21, 2011 during the public grand opening for the new BRIT facility.
About the Botanical Research Institute of Texas
Founded in 1987, the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT.org) is an international, scientific research and learning center focused on conservation and knowledge sharing. Based in Fort Worth, BRIT documents plant life on Earth and conducts extensive research around the world. Current major research projects are in Texas, Peru, and Papua New Guinea. In the last ten years BRIT scientists are credited with more than 80 new plant species discoveries.
BRIT's herbarium, a collection of more than one million dried plant specimens representing much of Earth’s plant diversity, is among the largest in the United States and is the largest U.S. herbarium not part of a university, botanical garden, or broader natural history museum. Some specimens date back to the late 1700’s. BRIT's library houses more than 125,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and journals from more than 100 countries.
Its plant collections and educational programs are open to the public, to help everyone understand the value that plants bring to life. BRIT is a resource for research scientists, students, teachers, plant enthusiasts, gardeners, hospitals, and many others.
Spring, 2011, BRIT will move into its new sustainable and energy efficient headquarters located in the Fort Worth Cultural District. Open to the public, BRIT will provide education programs featuring indoor and outdoor classes for all ages.
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 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.