KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A $22,000 grant from the Arconic Foundation is making Ijams Nature Center a cleaner, greener place.
Ijams Nature Center, a more than 300-acre facility, used the funds to install additional solar panels on the roof of the visitor center.
The new panels are projected to save more than $2,700 annually in traditional electrical use. Green Earth Solar, LLC completed the installation in March 2017.
The effort is part of Ijams’ Sustainability Initiative, which was created to educate the public about climate change and the effects of traditional energy production and use on the earth, as well as provide information about alternative energy sources. The solar panels serve as an educational demonstration model and interpretive signage helps visitors learn about solar energy options.
The new 7.8-kilowatt array brings the total size of Ijams’ rooftop system to 19.04kW. Power generated each month varies depending on the amount of sun the panels receive.
GES installed the original 11.34kW system in 2015. It produced almost two megawatt hours of power before the additional 7.8kW system was added. A megawatt hour (MWh) is equal to 1,000kW of electricity used continuously for one hour, which is approximately the same amount of electricity used by about 330 homes during one hour.
Grants from the Alcoa Foundation funded both installations. When Alcoa and Arconic split into two companies, the Arconic Foundation completed the grant process.
Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, more than 300-acre educational center for all ages, abilities and walks of life. Ijams’ mission is to encourage stewardship of the natural world by providing an urban greenspace for people to learn about and enjoy the outdoors through engaging experiences.
Located three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams Nature Center has 12 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking and more. The center offers hundreds of educational programs annually, from school field trips and off-site programs to on-site outdoor and classroom education programs. Classes focus on topics from birding and wildflowers to yoga hikes, cooking and art. The Ijams grounds and trails are open daily from 8 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open during the summer 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, visit www.Ijams.org or call 865-577-4717.