The Cincinnati Zoo says that a new large-scale canopy of solar panels will supply a fifth of the park’s energy by April 2011.
On Wednesday workers began installing the first of the 6,400 panels, which the zoo says will make up the largest urban solar array accessible to the public in the U.S.
“It’s literally four acres of solar panels,” said Mark Fisher, the zoo’s senior director of facilities, planning and sustainability, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The $11 million project was developed by green energy company Melink Corp., based in nearby Clermont County. Melink will also own and operate the 1.56-megawatt system.
The solar power installation will provide about 20 percent of the park’s electricity, or about $150,000 worth of annual utility costs.
Zoo visitors will get a chance to learn more about the solar array through an interactive kiosk, which will explain how the system works and how much energy is being produced.
The Cincinnati Zoo claims to be “the greenest zoo in America.”