Solar system to be installed on new Zoo Pavilion and will be first to power a Central Texas zoo
WACO, Texas – To commemorate Earth Month, the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas and Austin-based Green Mountain Energy Company, today announced plans for the Zoo’s first solar array. Green Mountain presented the only accredited AZA zoo in Central Texas with a check for $140,000 to fund the new 6,000 plus square feet solar panel system.
Kelly Brcka, director of Residential Salesfor Green Mountain Energy Company, today presented the $140,000 check to Jim Fleshman, director, Cameron Park Zoo and Nashim Hamilton, board president, Cameron Park Zoo.
The solar array will be the first to power a zoo in Central Texas and the second solar system donated by Green Mountain in Waco. It will help reduce the Zoo’s carbon footprint and energy costs, as well as be used to educate visitors about the benefits of solar energy. The solar photovoltaic (PV) system will be mounted on the roof of the Zoo’s new wood and stone pavilion currently under construction in the Meadows Area of the zoo. Cameron Park Zoo is located at 1701 N. 4th St., Waco.
“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 Cameron Park Zoo, an organization that is dedicated to supporting the environment, conservation awareness and preserving exotic animal species,” said Kelly Brcka, director, Residential Sales for Green Mountain Energy Company. “Green Mountain has been serving customers throughout Waco 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 Cameron Park Zoo’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 https://www.greenmountainenergysunclub.com/about/). This will be the 28th solar project built in Texas thanks to the Big Texas Sun Club since 2002. Through the Big Texas Sun Club, Green Mountain donated a 9.6 kW solar array to the Waco Chamber of Commerce in 2008.
“What is exciting about this particular facility is that Cameron Park Zoo will be able to actually show visitors an alternative energy option,” said Jim Fleshman, director, Cameron Park Zoo. “For the Zoo, conservation is a key part of our mission. The visitors will see that we work hard to be true to our stated purposes.”
The Cameron Park Zoo is building a new 6,070 square foot stone, metal, and wood pavilion in the Meadows area of the Zoo, where special events are held. This new larger area will be called the Cameron Park Zoo Pavilion, and will be used for weddings, corporate parties, and family reunions. Building a covered Pavilion will also allow the Zoo to schedule temporary, traveling exhibits that would offer Central Texans and others a chance to learn about animals other than those currently in the Zoo’s collection. The Pavilion is also intended to be a teaching tool.
A sign about the array and information about solar energy will be placed near the array. 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.
Construction on the solar array will start later this spring and is expected to be completed by August. Details about the array’s size and its environmental impact will be announced at the dedication.
About Earth Day
Friday, April 22 is the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, an event many people around the world will celebrate by focusing on ways to reduce pollution, protect nature and lower their personal impact on the environment. Earth Day began in 1970 as an annual day to recognized the wonders and beauty of our planet and has evolved into a week-long – and in some cases, month-long – celebration. Cameron Park Zoo will be celebrating their Earth Day event on April 16th with their annual Beasts ‘n Blooms & Earth Day Too! Festival.
Cameron Park Zoo
The Cameron Park Zoo is an award winning natural habitat Zoo located in Waco, Texas. Our mission is to promote conservation awareness and cultural enrichment through education and recreation, to be a survival center for native and exotic animal species, and an active community partner in economic development through tourism. For more information, visit www.cameronparkzoo.com
About 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.