Microgrid Brings Solar Energy to Missouri Botanical Garden
Rooftop Solar Array to Help Power One of St. Louis’ Truly “Green” Institutions
Saint Louis, Mo. – Microgrid Energy – a St. Louis-based solar installer – announced today that, with the assistance of corporate sponsor Express Scripts, it has helped bring new on-site clean energy to the Missouri Botanical Garden, completing installation of a 25-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) array.
“Completing this project for the Missouri Botanical Garden really means a lot to us,” said Rick Hunter, CEO of Microgrid Energy. “The Garden has always been an advocate for clean energy, understanding its direct impact on the plant conservation. We are proud to be able to help the Garden in its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint further, and at the same time to offer a publicly accessible solar project that can help demonstrate the feasibility and importance of renewable energy.”
This solar project involved a unique partnership that included a corporate sponsor, Express Scripts, enabling additional incentives to be utilized. The solar industry in Missouri and Illinois is currently experiencing a surge, due to new incentives and steadily rising electric costs.
The solar array is mounted on an approximately 3,000-square-foot area on the rooftop of the Garden’s Commerce Bank Center for Science Education (CBEC), and is visible from Interstate 44 near the Kingshighway exit. The 110 solar panels atop the building will produce an estimated 32,000-kilowatt hours of energy annually. The power created by this system is equivalent to the energy needed to power four to six homes. Over its 30-year lifetime, the system is estimated to produce 870,000-kilowatt hours of energy and displace 800 tons of carbon dioxide. In other environmental terms, the savings in emissions is on par with eliminating 2,500 gallons of gasoline burned in cars per year, or preserving 29 acres of hardwood forest.
Each of the 40-inch wide by 65-inch long individual solar panels weighs 40 pounds and is secured to the roof by concrete blocks to hold it in place even in the strongest winds. The panels are comprised of polycrystalline photovoltaic modules with micro-inverters, which convert the sun’s direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC, the type used to power lights, appliances, and other electronics) on the spot.
A touch-screen monitoring station in the CBEC lobby offers an opportunity for the visitors to learn more about solar, including viewing the real-time power production of the solar panels and the daily energy harnessed. Visitors can also measure the array’s power production tallies for the current week, month, and its lifetime to-date.
“Not only are we helping provide clean, solar energy to power the building for today, but with the addition of this great educational component, we hope people will be inspired to think about how they can address the energy challenges of the future,” added Hunter.
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For more information about Microgrid Energy visit: http://microgrid-solar.com/