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Stone Zoo now powered by solar energy

Things are looking bright at Zoo New England’s Stone Zoo as the new solar power array is up and running. This exciting renewable energy project will provide nearly all of the power used by the zoo, reducing carbon emissions and lowering operating costs.

Conservation is the cornerstone of Zoo New England’s mission, and this solar project aligns perfectly with our mission to protect wildlife and the planet. The solar panel array was constructed in the zoo parking lot to harness the abundant energy of the sun, and will provide about 95% of Stone Zoo’s electrical needs. This switch to solar is the equivalent of planting 800 acres of trees or avoiding 700,000 pounds of coal each year.

“We are absolutely thrilled that the solar array project is now complete, and generating clean energy. Conservation is the cornerstone of our mission, and this project is in perfect alignment with our work to preserve and protect wildlife and habitats, while creating a more sustainable future for us all,” said John Linehan, President and CEO of Zoo New England. “Nature has great healing capacity and, if given the chance, can be very effective in combating the negative impacts of climate change. This clean energy project and others like it can be part of the climate solution.”

One of the primary goals with this project was to demonstrate the use of this technology with the hundreds of thousands of people that visit Stone Zoo annually. Through this project, the zoo hopes to educate and inspire business and home owners to use their parking lots and rooftops to help reduce the production of greenhouse gasses. These areas are by their nature practically devoid of life, thus turning net negatives into net positives for our planet.

This project was made possible with the help of State Senator Jason Lewis and State Representative Michael Day, who successfully secured $3 million for the Stone Zoo solar array project in 2021 from the Commonwealth to make this clean energy project happen.

“I’m thrilled to be celebrating the completed solar array project at the Stone Zoo,” said State Senator Jason Lewis. “This new, renewable energy infrastructure is a great way to tackle climate change, help the zoo save money, and provide a wonderful educational opportunity for the many families and young children that visit the zoo each year.”

"Modernizing our energy sources is an essential step to reaching our clean energy goals here in Massachusetts," said Representative Michael Day. "I was proud to work with my colleagues in the Legislature to secure this funding, and I appreciate the hard work of Zoo New England, Solect Energy and SolarKal for bringing this idea to fruition."

Collaboration was crucial to this project, and Stone Zoo was fortunate to work with esteemed partners in the solar industry. Providing expert solar advice, SolarKal, the leading solar advisory and marketplace for commercial real estate in the U.S., was instrumental in simplifying the transition to solar energy. Solect Energy, a full-service solar developer of 700+ systems in New England, led the design and successful installation of the Zoo’s solar canopy system. Support from both partners was vital to further the zoo’s mission and build a more sustainable world.

The installation of solar panels will help the zoo save on energy costs over time, allowing more resources to be allocated to animal care, educational programs and conservation efforts. Stone Zoo welcomes visitors to come and see the solar panels in action and learn about the positive impact they are making on the environment.