Solar system will be 25 kilowatts and first array to power a South Texas art museum
CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – To commemorate the 41st Earth Day, which is today, April 22, 2011, the Art Museum of South Texas and Austin-based Green Mountain Energy Company, today announced plans for the Museum’s first solar array. Green Mountain presented the Art Museum with a check for $140,000 to fund the new 25 kilowatt (kW) solar panel system.
Vanessa Montelongo, South Texas market manager for Green Mountain Energy Company, today presented the check to Corpus Christi Mayor Joe Adame; Interim City Manager, Margie Rose; Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi President, Flavius Killebrew; and director, Art Museum of South Texas, Joe Schenk.
The solar array will be the first to power an art museum in South Texas and the second one donated by Green Mountain in Corpus Christi. It will help reduce the Museum’s carbon footprint and energy costs, as well as be used to educate visitors and patrons about the benefits of solar energy. The solar photovoltaic (PV) system will be mounted on the Museum’s roof. The Art Museum of South Texas is located at 1902 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi.
“In honor of Earth Month, the 30-day celebration of Earth Day, Green Mountain Energy Company is especially pleased to donate the solar array system to the Art Museum of South Texas,” said Vanessa Montelongo, South Texas market manager for Green Mountain Energy Company. “Green Mountain has been serving customers throughout Corpus Christi and the surrounding communities since 2002. Donating solar systems 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.”
Green Mountain funded the Art Museum’s solar array through its Big Texas Sun Club®, 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 http://greenmountainenergysunclub.com/about/). Green Mountain previously donated a 10.08 kW solar array to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi in 2010.
“The Art Museum of South Texas is thrilled to receive this major grant to install a solar array on our building. We sincerely appreciate the generosity of customers of Green Mountain Energy Company who made this possible through donations to the Big Texas Sun Club,” said Joe Schenk, director, Art Museum of South Texas. “Art museums have special needs for the care of works of art and our energy costs are a major expense. This solar project will help us cut part of those costs for the next 30 years.”
“The City of Corpus Christi greatly appreciates Green Mountain Energy Company, through its Big Texas Sun Club, awarding our Art Museum this major grant for a solar array on this particular building,” said Corpus Christi Mayor Joe Adame. “The Art Museum of South Texas is an important community asset and the future energy savings the museum will receive will benefit us all.”
Green Mountain Energy® Solar at Art Museum of South Texas is expected to produce more than 30,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year by converting sunlight into pollution-free electricity. The solar array is expected to save the Museum approximately $150,000 in electricity costs over its 30-year lifetime. It is expected to offset over 42,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. That’s the equivalent of taking over 1,300 cars off the road for a day or 12,000 houses turning off all their lights for a day.
An educational kiosk, including a sign about the environmental benefits of the array, information about solar energy, and a real-time display of the system’s energy output, will be placed at ground level adjacent to the building where the array is mounted. 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 panels will be installed by Hill Country Ecopower. Construction on the solar array is expected to start in late May and be completed this summer.
Earth Day began on April 22, 1970. It has since turned into month- long celebrations (Earth Month) and people all over the world are attending events, participating in helping the Earth, and putting the environment at the top of their priority lists.
Art Museum of South Texas
The Art Museum of South Texas is located on the Corpus Christi Bayfront (1902 N. Shoreline Blvd). The Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM-5 PM, and Sunday 1 – 5 PM. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors aged 60 and over, $2 for students. Children 12 and under are admitted free. The Museum is affiliated with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. For more information, contact 361/825-3500 or see www.ArtMuseumofSouthTexas.org
Green Mountain Energy Company
Green Mountain, 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 back by one of the nation’s largest renewable power producers. For more information, visit www.GreenMountain.com.
 Estimated savings calculated by Green Mountain, based on assumed current electricity price of $0.09 per kWh and annual electricity inflation rate of 5% over the estimated 30 year useful life of the facility.