The Fort Worth Zoo now boasts its first solar array, 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 ClubSM (formerly the Big Texas Sun Club) to fund its first solar array system. The new 47.5 kilowatt (kW) solar array is installed on the roof of the Zoo’s administration building.
Green Mountain CEO Paul Thomas and Super Earth Mascot joined Fort Worth Zoo Executive Director Michael Fourakar to officially “flip the switch” of the solar array today during a ceremonial dedication. The Fort Worth Zoo is located at 1989 Colonial Parkway.
The new 47.5 kilowatt (kW) solar array is the largest solar system to help power a zoo in Texas and one of the largest in Fort Worth. It will help reduce the Zoo’s carbon footprint and energy costs, as well as be used to educate visitors and patrons about the benefits of solar energy. The solar array is the fourth one donated by Green Mountain’s Sun Club in Fort Worth.
Green Mountain’s Sun Club, which funded the Fort Worth Zoo’s solar array, is a unique program in which Green Mountain’s Texas customers can choose to support solar energy installations in Texas by paying an additional $5 on their monthly Green Mountain Energy® electric bill (for information, visit gmsunclub.com). This is Green Mountain’s 30th solar installation through the Sun Club since 2002 when the program was launched.
“We are thrilled that the Fort Worth Zoo, an extremely valuable and iconic institution in Fort Worth, is the recipient of the 30th solar installation through the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club,” said Paul Thomas, CEO of Green Mountain Energy Company. “More than one million visitors to the Fort Worth Zoo each year will be able to see a solar array and learn about the important benefits of solar energy. Donating solar installations 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.”
“We are grateful for the donation from Green Mountain Energy,” said Michael Fouraker, Fort Worth Zoo executive director. “The Zoo is constantly looking for ways to incorporate conservation of all kinds into our daily operation. When we were approached about this opportunity, we thought it was a perfect fit as it demonstrates the use of natural power without disruption or destruction of animal habitat. We appreciate the partnership and donation, and we look forward to seeing how this initiative can expand.”
The Green Mountain Energy® Solar at Fort Worth Zoo is approximately 4,000 square feet and was built with 176 giant solar photovoltaic panels. It is expected to produce more than 93,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean electricity per year by converting sunlight into pollution-free electricity. Additionally, the solar array is expected to avoid more than 123,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. That’s the equivalent of taking 4,000 cars off the road for one day or more than 36,000 houses turning off all their lights for a day. It is estimated the system will save the Zoo nearly $300,000 over the course of its 30-year lifetime.
As part of the donation, an educational sign will be installed on the Zoo grounds to inform visitors about the solar array, how it works and its environmental benefits. The solar panels were installed by APS.
Fort Worth Zoo
The nationally acclaimed Fort Worth Zoo has been ranked the No. 5 zoo in the nation by USA Travel Guide and the No. 1 attraction in the DFW Metroplex by Zagat survey. The Zoo is home to more than 500 animal species and a world-famous reptile collection, housed in the Museum of Living Art (MOLA). The institution’s focus on education and conservation is second to none, enhancing the lives of more than 1 million visitors a year.
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.