Zoo & Aquarium News

GEM Energy solar array wins national recognition as Solar Builder Magazine’s Project of 2014

Toledo, Ohio – The 2.1-MW Anthony Wayne Solar Array, a brownfield site now providing electricity to the Toledo Zoo, has been honored with national recognition as Solar Builder magazine’s Project of 2014 in the ground-mount category. Developed, designed and constructed by GEM Energy, of the Rudolph/Libbe Companies, the project garnered 30 percent of the public votes among six finalists in the ground-mount category. 

Finalists were selected from nearly 30 nominees nationwide, based on construction application, innovation and community impact. The Anthony Wayne Solar Array was the only finalist in the Midwest.  Voting was open to Solar Builder readers and the public via solarbuildermag.com from Sept. 8 to Sept. 21, 2014.

Winners were honored today at Solar Power International in Las Vegas.  

The Anthony Wayne Solar Array is owned by a group of local investors led by Rudolph/Libbe Companies. The zoo purchases about 30 percent of its electricity from the array through an exclusive power purchase agreement.

“We’re honored to receive this recognition, and we thank everyone in our community who voted for the Anthony Wayne Solar Array,” said Jason Slattery, Director of Solar for GEM Energy. “It’s a great feeling to give this brownfield site a new life and to provide power to the Zoo without any capital investment needed on the Zoo’s part.This project is a perfect example of how customers can reduce their operating costs through the use of solar.” 

The array is located on a 22-acre Toledo brownfield site that was once in receivership. The 28,170-panel solar array is one of the largest in the U.S. to supply power to a zoo.

“The Solar Builder magazine award recognizing GEM Energy’s collaboration with the Toledo Zoo on the Solar Array not only shines a light on alternative energy, it serves as a catalyst to further inspire more businesses and individuals to conserve the natural environment, a core mission of the Toledo Zoo” said Jeff Sailer, Executive Director of the Toledo Zoo.

The project was built with Calyxo solar modules, which use innovative thin film technology developed in Toledo. Nextronex, of Toledo, provided inverters, combiner boxes and distributed architecture for the solar array. AP Alternatives LLC, of Ridgeville Corners, supplied steel racks for the solar modules. The array will produce approximately 2.6MWh per year.

GEM Energy, of the Rudolph/Libbe Companies, is ranked among the top solar contractors in the industry by another publication, Solar Power World. For 2014, GEM Energy is ranked 28th among Solar Power World’s Top 50 Solar Developers in the U.S., 70th among the magazine’s Top 100 Commercial Solar Contractors, and 154th on the magazine’s list of Top 400 Solar Contractors.

The Rudolph/Libbe Companies is among the region’s largest contractors and employs 1,000-1,500 construction trades through offices in Lima, Toledo, Cleveland and Walbridge, Ohio; and Plymouth, Michigan.


June Remley

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