Rudolph/Libbe has started construction on a 2-MW solar array from which the Toledo Zoo will purchase enough power to supply approximately 30 percent of its electrical energy needs, significantly reducing the zoo’s carbon footprint.
Rudolph/Libbe Inc. is designing and building the project on a 22-acre brownfield site in south Toledo, Ohio. GEM Inc., one of the Rudolph/Libbe Companies, is performing licensed electrical work.
The 28,000-panel solar array will be among the largest in the nation to supply power to a zoo. The project will be built with Calyxo solar modules, which use innovative thin film technology developed in Toledo. Nextronex, of Toledo, is providing inverters, combiner boxes, and distributed architecture for the solar array. Alex Products, of Ridgeville Corners, is supplying steel racks for the solar modules.
Rudolph/Libbe developed the project exclusively to provide a power purchase arrangement for the Toledo Zoo. The ground-mount system will contain no moving parts. The array will produce approximately 2.6MWh per year.
Buffer areas will be planted around the perimeter of the solar array and common areas with grasses native to northwest Ohio.
The project will be complete in early to mid-2014.
Local union labor will construct the project, which will create about 60 construction jobs. “We employ many of the area’s most skilled, dedicated and experienced tradespeople. We’re proud to put them to work on this solar array,” said Jason Slattery, director of solar for Rudolph/Libbe.
“This project is a great example of the public and private sectors working together to benefit the zoo and the community,” Slattery added. “We’re taking a contaminated brownfield site, which is a negative financial burden for the city, and turning it a positive for the city of Toledo and the Toledo Zoo. This is a huge win for our community.”
In 2010, Rudolph/Libbe also designed and built the Toledo Zoo’s SolarWalk. The SolarWalk used more than 1,400 solar panels and was designed to resemble a snake winding along the perimeter of the zoo parking lot to the entrance. Last year, the SolarWalk generated 99,041.29 kWh of electricity.
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.
— Solar Builder magazine