Selby Gardens in Sarasota powers up with solar energy panels.

By Oliver Townsend Jun 28, 2024
Sarasota's Selby Gardens turns on solar panels to generate its own energy.jpegOrginal image from:

Selby Gardens in Sarasota has taken a significant step towards sustainability by implementing an innovative solar panel system. The completion of the first phase of their downtown Sarasota campus transformation was marked by the activation of a state-of-the-art array of 2,158 solar panels. This groundbreaking move has made Selby Gardens the world’s first net positive energy botanical garden complex. The solar panels, covering 57,000 square feet, have been strategically placed on the new parking garage and the roof of the Steinwachs Family Plant Research Center. This initiative is not only environmentally friendly but also financially beneficial, with the potential to save Selby Gardens about $100,000 in energy costs annually.

The Power of Solar Energy

The activation of the solar panels is expected to generate 1.27 million kilowatt hours per year, surpassing the energy demands of the garden complex by 10%. This move is also projected to offset 975 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to removing 211 cars from the road. Additionally, the rooftop garden will cultivate fresh produce to supply the Green Orchid restaurant with carbon-free cooking. The solar panels provide the restaurant, operated by Michael’s on East, with 100% carbon-free cooking through its fully electric operation.

Monitoring and Certification

The solar energy production will undergo monitoring over the next year for Living Building and Living Community Petal Certification by the International Living Future Institute. This certification will serve as a testament to the effectiveness of the system and its contribution to sustainable practices. The efforts put forth by Selby Gardens are not only groundbreaking but also serve as a model for other botanical gardens and institutions to follow suit in embracing renewable energy sources.

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