In partnership with Seattle City Light, the Seattle Aquarium completed installation of a 49-kilowatt-hour photovoltaic array on the roof of Pier 59 in the summer of 2013. The array became operational in December of that year.
The Seattle Aquarium is among approximately a dozen U.S. zoos and aquariums that are adopting solar power. At 247 panels, our array is one of the largest in country. “Reducing carbon emissions is the most important thing we can do to mitigate the effects of climate change, and the Aquarium aims to do its part,” commented the Aquarium’s Director of Conservation & Education Jim Wharton. “Using clean, green energy supports healthy marine ecosystems by reducing our carbon footprint. It also supports one of our key messages: that people are working together to preserve Puget Sound through both individual actions and community initiatives.”
Most of the panels produce electricity for City Light’s “Community Solar” participants. In the fall of 2013, City Light customers were offered the chance to pay for units in the array in exchange for seven years of annual bill credits correlated to the electricity generated by the project. All 1,850 units sold in six weeks. A small portion of the system is funded by City Light’s “Green Up” program that provides direct usage of the electricity for the Aquarium. In 2020, when the Community Solar program ends, the Aquarium will receive 100 percent of the electricity generated. To view how much power the Community Solar project is generating at the Seattle Aquarium, click here.