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Solar panels installed at Henry Doorly Zoo

Photo courtesy: Henry Doorly Zoo

A Solar Photovoltaic panel array has been installed at the north end of African Grasslands near the tent camp.

The 25-kW array of solar panels is expected to produce enough electricity to help eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from a portion of the African Grasslands exhibit.

This is the Zoo’s first solar PV array.

The project is expected to lessen the Zoo’s impact on the natural environment in hopes to set an example of strategies that can reduce loss of biodiversity.

For over half the year, the panel is expected to produce 100% of the electricity needs for areas such as the lion viewing structure, the overnight Safari camps, restrooms, as well as the nearby lighting.

In addition to generating electricity for the Zoo, the structure supporting the solar panels will provide much-needed shade for Zoo guests waiting in line to board Skyfari.

The panels were manufactured by Structural Solar LLC. Other companies involved include Morrissey Engineering Inc. of Omaha, Shaffer & Stevens Engineering of Omaha, and Verdis Group of Omaha.

The project is partly funded by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

The Trust is funded by proceeds from the Nebraska Lottery.

Since 1994, the Nebraska Environmental Trust has given more than $265 million to conservation projects in Nebraska.

The solar panels are one part of the Zoo’s dedication to conservation and sustainability.

In the past five years, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has reduced energy per square foot by 15%, total water use by 16% and has doubled the rate of recycling diversion.

This panel will give power to a share of the African Grassland exhibit near the Skyfari attraction and is the Zoo’s first ever Solar PV panel installation

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