The Creative Discovery Museum (CDM) is unveiling its new 41.9-kW solar array — complementing its existing 10-kW system, just as the holiday season begins. This new system is anticipated to generate over 56,045 kWh of electricity and offset a total of $6,120 in electricity costs in the first year of installation.
The system is the result of a year of collaboration with the nonprofit Everybody Solar in partnership with ENGIE North America, Change Happens Foundation, All Points North Foundation and Tri-State Energy Solutions.
The new solar panels, donated by ENGIE North America and installed by TriState Electric, will provide CDM with some welcome reductions in overhead costs amidst the global pandemic. Science and children’s museums have been hit particularly hard during pandemic-related closures. Specifically, CDM was forced to close for several months and, when doors finally re-opened in June, visitor capacity was limited to 20%. While solar is not a solution to all, or even most, of CDM’s financial challenges, it will help. Over the 25-year lifetime of the system, CDM will save in the excess of $153,000 as a result of this expansion in the array. This savings translates into increased sustainability for the facility, and is a perfect complement to the city of Chattanooga’s efforts to be a more environmentally friendly city.
The projected savings from the solar array will support CDM’s ‘Museum for All’ initiative. This program provides over 50,000 free and discounted admissions annually. Savings from the solar panels will also support CDM’s educational programs on sustainability and alternative energy sources, as well as an internal sustainability initiative.
“The Solar for the Creative Discovery Museum project complements our vision of offering nonprofits cost savings, energy efficiency, and environmental sustainability, while providing a unique educational experience to help spread the adoption of renewable energy,” said Henry Schulson, CDM executive director.
“We’re honored to be a part of this exciting project and to have worked with so many great partners to make this project come to fruition. Despite the challenges posed by this year, our team and community came together to ensure we could install our largest solar energy system to date. Now more than ever it’s crucial that we take steps to mitigate climate change and educate people about the power of solar energy so that we can ensure our planet continues to be livable for this and future generations,” said Youness Scally, executive director of Everybody Solar.
”At All Points North Foundation, we believe science centers are well-positioned to engage communities on the benefits and science of solar, while also having the opportunity to reduce electricity costs by installing solar and redirecting savings to what they do best. The time to support such initiatives couldn’t be more critical against the backdrop of COVID-19, as the science center and museum communities have been hit especially hard,” said Brandon Kiger, director of solar grant partnerships.
News item from Everybody Solar