Cincinnati Zoo Gets Solar Canopy Parking

The whole idea behind a zoo is to celebrate and preserve Earth’s biodiversity, right? Makes sense, then, that a zoo ought to try hard to operate in a sustainable way – as the Cincinnati Zoo certainly seems to. The zoo is building a 1.56-megawatt (MW) solar canopy over one of its parking lots, and upon completion in April it will provide 20 percent of the facility’s energy needs.

This isn’t the biggest parking-lot solar project we’ve heard about – the 4.1-MW installation by Dow Jones at their New Jersey offices might take the prize there. But the zoo called its 6,400-panel effort, which will cover 800 parking spaces, the “largest publicly accessible solar array in the country,” and said that aspect makes it particularly noteworthy.

Cincinnati Zoo solar canopy

image via Cincinnati Zoo

“Nowhere else has an array of this magnitude been placed in such an urban environment, allowing our visitors, and the general public at large, to be able to see firsthand what solar photovoltaic energy is all about,” said Mark Fisher, who heads up facilities, planning and sustainability at the zoo. “The education potential of this advanced energy project is off the charts.”

The project was designed and is being built by Melink Corp., a Milford, Ohio, company that will own and operate the system. And according to the zoo – which bills itself as the “greenest zoo in America” – “all the major components of the solar canopy will be manufactured either locally, or in other locations within the United States to help promote economic growth.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.


  • Reply January 31, 2011


    Amazing and impressive at the same time. I hope other companies follow suit.

  • Reply July 22, 2011

    Marcos Del Cristo

    Quite awesome. Good job Cincinnati Zoo!

  • Reply July 22, 2011

    Marcos Del Cristo

    Quite awesome. Good job Cincinnati Zoo!

  • Reply October 12, 2012

    Solar Cincinnati @ YellowLite

    It is great Suggestion for Energy and Climate. If Everyone use this Idea then it is helpful for the Economic growth.
    Thanks to Pete Danko for this informative Blog.

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