Tracy Aviary, a Salt Lake City nonprofit dedicated to conservation and education, unveiled two new Spotlight Solar structures in its flamingo habitat on Earth Day 2015. The pink sculptural installation, a nod to the flamingos, is the latest and most eye-catching expression of Tracy Aviary’s dedication to environmental conservation, education and solar energy. The installations present solar energy in a striking way, balancing energy production and aesthetics.
“We are proud to be able to introduce this innovative approach to capturing and creating solar energy at Tracy Aviary,” said Tim Brown, executive director of Tracy Aviary. “These solar trees directly align with our conservation and education mission. Thanks to Rocky Mountain Power, Spotlight Solar and Creative Energies, we are able to educate people about solar power in a unique and very visual way.”
Tracy Aviary introduced this elegant visual statement of renewable energy to educate the public on the benefits of solar power and to provide shade for patrons and birds. The pink solar structures will build awareness about the benefits of solar energy among Tracy Aviary’s 130,000 visitors.
The artistic structures feature 24 Lumos LSX frameless solar panels, which are capable of producing up to six kilowatts of electricity. Annually, the installation will generate approximately 9,300 kilowatt hours, enough to supply the yearly electricity usage of an average U.S. home.
The solar trees are Tracy Aviary’s third solar project in five years. The aviary also has LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified buildings with solar panels on the roofs of its South American Pavilion and visitors center.
“This is the most intriguing application of our solar structures so far: in a flamingo habitat and pink!” said Craig Merrigan, co-founder and CEO of Spotlight Solar. “The reason we created this product is to bring visibility to solar technology, so more people come to understand it and consider clean energy for their own homes and businesses. We are thrilled to partner with Tracy Aviary and Creative Energies to bring solar more visibly into the community of Salt Lake City.”
Merrigan pointed out that solar only makes up one percent of the U.S. energy supply, while recent opinion polls reveal that more than 75 percent of Americans like solar energy and want more of it deployed. Spotlight Solar intends to increase the visibility of solar energy in order to accelerate its adoption. The company has several other distinctive projects in the works, including installations planned at utilities, train stations, a new science museum and prominent universities.
Creative Energies, which installed the structures at Tracy Aviary, was founded with a mission to develop and inspire healthy communities through innovative energy solutions. Mike Walton, a solar project developer with Creative Energies, said the installation at the aviary is a way to accomplish that mission. “Installing Spotlight Solar’s ‘Lift’ structures for Tracy Aviary has provided Creative Energies with a unique opportunity to engage our community in the discussion of solar energy and the limitless ways in which it can be integrated in a facility,” noted Walton.
“Tracy Aviary has always led the flock when it comes to solar energy,” said Alene Bentley, customer and community manager for Rocky Mountain Power, which provided grant funding through its Blue Sky program. “We are grateful for our Blue Sky customers that help build these beautiful solar trees for all the birds and bird lovers who visit here.”