The Toledo Zoo in Toledo, Ohio, has unveiled the 98.1 kW, $1.475 million SolarWalk, a photovoltaic installation at the zoo. Rudolph/Libbe designed and built the project in six months. First Solar donated the solar modules and provided design and engineering expertise. Romanoff Electric served as the electrical contractor, JDRM served as the electrical design firm and Sponseller Group served as the structural engineer.
The SolarWalk, which consists of over 1,400 solar modules at varying angles, is predicted to provide more than 104,000 kWh annually, according to the zoo. A total of 150 tons of steel were used to construct the 1,400 lineal-foot SolarWalk, which was designed to mimic a snake winding along the perimeter of the zoo parking lot to the entrance.
Elevated steel artwork provides a frame for the solar panels and a wire chase to conceal all electrical equipment, as well as a sheltered walkway. Steel panels mounted on every column provide information to educate visitors about the zoo's green activities and share tips for green living. Benches are welded to 27 vertical finials, allowing visitors to sit under the array.
LED lights are installed in the glass globes at the top of every other column. These decorative finials are hand-blown glass globes created by the Toledo Museum of Art.