Here comes the sun! The Seattle Aquarium recently announced a partnership with Seattle City Light to install a 49-kilowatt-hour photovoltaic array on the roof of Pier 59 this summer. (What does “photovoltaic” mean? That the array will create electricity from the sun’s energy—not hot water, as our other solar project with City Light and Puget Sound Energy does.)
“It’s part of the vision of the Aquarium to invest in alternative energy, and this project fits perfectly with that,” says Conservation Manager Mark Plunkett. Using clean, green energy helps to support healthy marine ecosystems by reducing ocean acidification. “We’re among a dozen or so zoos and aquariums that are adopting solar power,” notes Mark. The 246-panel solar array at the Seattle Aquarium will be the largest installation on any West Coast aquarium.
The array will generate electricity that goes directly to the Aquarium, and the system will also host Seattle City Light’s second Community Solar project, where anyone with a Seattle City Light account can pay for one or more solar units and receive annual bill credits for the electricity generated by the project.
Work will soon be underway and the array is planned to be operational by the end of the year. We’re excited to work with Seattle City Light on education opportunities this fall as we highlight sustainable operations and address climate change and ocean acidification. Stay tuned for further updates on the array when it’s complete! In the meantime, to learn more about Seattle City Light’s Community Solar project, visit Seattle.Gov/communitysolar or call SCL Community Solar Program Manager Suzanne DuRard at (206) 684-3874.