Discovery Place, one of the major science museums in the U.S., has installed two solar trees on the rooftop of its Carol Grotnes Belk Parking Complex in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The installation is part of Museum educational program. Each solar tree is 20 ft in height and will be utilized to deliver energy to an electric vehicle charging station positioned on level three of the complex. The solar energy systems will also balance electricity usage in the education building, which is located nearby to the museum.
Southern Energy Management, a solar integrator, has served as the major contractor for the Discovery Place’s solar project. The solar trees have been manufactured by Spotlight Solar, a company specializing in the production of highly visible and attractive solar structures. Bosch Solar has delivered the solar panels required for the trees. The City of Charlotte has offered technical support and funding for the project, which is mainly designed to increase the community's awareness about the value of conserving energy and using alternative methods for generating power. The solar installation at Discovery Place’s facility has commenced on February 26, 2012. The project is expected to begin energy production in March 2012.
Once the installation is completed, the solar systems will help visitors to learn more about the sustainable energy sources. They will be able to gain real-time information about the system’s electrical output through live energy statistics and educational videos. The museum visitors will also find out the impacts of the angle of sunlight, shadows, clouds, seasons and other factors associated with solar power. The solar systems, installed at Discovery Place, will decrease pollution, which is equivalent to burning 500 gallons of gasoline. They will also generate approximately half of the energy consumed by a home in Charlotte.