California Science Center Saves Money With Solar Panels

A science centre in California is installing solar electric panels to generate a significant portion of its own electricity.

OAKLAND, California, US, 2001-04-30 <SolarAccess.com> The new Chabot Space & Science Center in the Oakland Hills opened last August as a teaching and learning centre for astronomy. It has installed 324 PV modules over 3,200 square feet of the complex roof, generating 27.6 kW of electricity for exterior lighting. Its monthly utility bills are $12,000, down from $22,000, and the centre may save more as a result of the recent PUC actions to address the state’s energy situation. Additional PV modules will be added in future to provide 15 percent of the facility’s electricity. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions which result from traditional energy sources, executive director Mike Reynolds says the PV system also provides an education enrichment for students through its innovative array of solar modules. Originally created for the Oakland school system in 1883, Chabot was located in downtown Oakland and was the first public observatory in the western U.S. It also served as the official timekeeping station for the Bay Area. The new centre opened last year, featuring a telescope and observatory complex, domed-screen Tien MegaDome Theater, Ask Jeeves Planetarium, exhibits and natural park setting. The $76 million facility is located on 13 acres in Joaquin Miller Park, with views of San Francisco Bay and the Oakland foothills.

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