Partnering with KCP& L’s solar panel initiative, roofs all around the Zoo are getting a make-over. Many of the Zoo’s buildings were suitable for solar panel installation; 11 buildings with solar panels are up and running right now and it is estimated those panels produce 268.82 kW of power and save us the equivalent of power used by 34.9 homes.
When Helzberg Penguin Plaza was built in 2013, sustainability was top of mind. We worked to achieve LEED certification, a “green” building standard that was used with Polar Bear Passage as well and will be incorporated into all future projects. Helzberg Penguin Plaza is home to several solar panels that cover half of the 19,000 square foot exhibit’s roof and we also installed a ground level panel so that visitors could see what the panels look like and how they work. Because we are so far north of the equator, our solar panels must also incorporate mirrors to reflect sunlight when the sun is low on the horizon.
The installation and maintenance of our solar panel system has been flawless so far thanks to our friends at KCP&L. The partnership is going so well, that solar panels were installed on our restaurant, Tuxedo Grill as well. Those panels that will sit atop the restaurant will generate 14 % of the power being used by it.
Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff is dedicated to the use of solar power. “As a conservation organization, the Kansas City Zoo is always seeking to use renewable energy. From an energy security and sustainability perspective, it seems logical for the Zoo to make the most of solar power technologies. One of the great things about solar power is that it produces its greatest output as demand spikes. Eleven buildings at the Zoo will utilize this resource capturing energy and conserving energy at peak needed times, saving the Zoo money and saving the Earth’s resources.”