Zoo news letterhead

Sept. 25, 2013

Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Susan Gallagher, 314/646-4633
Christy Childs, 314/646-4639; pr@stlzoo.org
Joanna Bender, 314/646-4703
StraightUp Solar: Dr. Dane Glueck, 314/218-2663, ext. 287

Media b-roll time-lapse of installation: youtu.be/KZyAo_QRMYg; Time-lapse with explanation for viewers/readers: youtu.be/45-gYf4Ndhg


The Saint Louis Zoo now has a new, 31-kilowatt solar power installation on the roof of its Safari Gift Shop at the South Entrance—making solar the primary power supply for the gift shop.

The system's 96, 3 x 5-foot photovoltaic modules (panels) produce enough electricity to keep three to five homes powered up year round and is expected to save the Zoo $4,500 in net average annual energy costs over the system's 25-year warranty period ($111,740 total over 25 years). It also offers a source of pollution-free power generation.

Visitors to the Zoo can view real-time and cumulative generation and the system's air quality benefits (emission reductions made possible by the system) either from the Zoo's website or from a new digital kiosk found on the South Arrival Experience bridge leading into the Zoo.

StraightUp Solar, a St. Louis-based solar energy integration company, donated the system to the Zoo. Founded in 2006, StraightUp Solar has installed multiple solar systems with a total generating capacity of three megawatts.

In addition to the donation, StraightUp Solar is offering a special $250 customer discount plus an additional $250 donation to the Saint Louis Zoo for each new system purchased now through Oct. 31. To receive these benefits, customers must simply post a photo of themselves standing before the Zoo's new solar array/kiosk and Zoo sign to both the Saint Louis Zoo and StraightUp Solar Facebook sites.

"This environmental initiative is one among many at the Zoo. As a conservation organization, we work hard to save wild things in wild places around the globe, and we are also committed to conserving resources here at home," said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and Chief Executive Officer of the Saint Louis Zoo.

"We have an exceptional recycling program and have significantly reduced water and energy use by installing more efficient systems," he said. We hope to share our experience with this solar energy system with our guests so that they can evaluate the use of solar energy at their own homes or businesses."

Dr. Dane Glueck, president and co-owner of StraightUp Solar added, "StraightUp Solar exists for simply one reason—to inspire a solar tribe to create a sustainable world. When the opportunity arose to install the Zoo's first solar array, we knew instantly that donating the system was consistent with our company's CLEARE (Community/Lead/Educate/Advocate/Respect/Excellence) values to not only respect the environment and animal habitat, but also to educate the public that they can make real and meaningful sustainability choices today that will provide energy, environmental and economic security benefits for decades to come."

The Zoo's Sunpower E20 monocrystalline solar energy panels are currently the most efficient at converting sunlight into energy when compared with other conventional photovoltaic collector types. This grid-tied, batteryless design ensures that all of the electricity is immediately used on-site at the Zoo. For more information on how solar systems work visit nrel.gov/solar/.

The state of Missouri has a renewable energy mandate that requires investor-owned utilities to obtain 15 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2021. To address this mandate, Ameren Missouri provides a $2 per watt rebate for solar energy installations.

"Zoo patrons are encouraged to learn more and watch the system's output in realtime at stlzoo.org/solar or to come to the Zoo and see the system and kiosk in person," added Wanda Evans, Sustainability Coordinator at the Zoo.

For more information, pictures and video, visit stlzoo.org, facebook.com/stlzoo, twitter.com/stlzoo (@stlzoo), youtube.com/stlzootube, pinterest.com/stlzoo, instagram.com/stlzoo.

About the Zoo's Sustainability Efforts: The Saint Louis Zoo's sustainability initiatives range from diverting 55.33 percent of its total waste from landfills in 2012 alone to strongly promoting the use of re-usable "sipper" cups, tripling the sale of these cups over eight years. The Zoo has recently installed efficient new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and replaced outdated lighting with energy efficient lighting in multiple areas. The Zoo also reduced water loss by replacing leaking valves and installing variable frequency drives on pump moters to reclaim water and by installing an efficient new system at Sea Lion Sound that is expected to save 11 million gallons of water each year.

About StraightUp Solar: StraightUp Solar is a turnkey solar energy integration company. Since 2006, StraightUp Solar has brought solar energy to residential and business customers by designing and installing affordable solar solutions. The company's collaborative approach provides the education and partnerships necessary to make solar energy accessible. Its list of clients also includes universities, public school systems and city governments. For more information visit straightupsolar.com or facebook.com/straightupsolar and twitter.com/straightupsolar