Hamilton Zoo Educates Next Generation on Solar
The Hamilton Zoo and local installer S4Solar share a driving purpose—to educate children about renewables, energy, and all things solar. Together they created a public solar system to get kids interested and excited.
S is for Solar
Conservation is key to the Hamilton Zoo, and the zoo’s leadership feels a strong responsibility to care for not only animals and wildlife, but for the environment as well. Hoping to teach the others about the importance of conservation, the Hamilton Zoo decided to use their close connection to the community to raise solar awareness.
To do so, they enlisted S4Solar, a smart power solutions provider, which is also dedicated to enhancing the lives of others using natural resources.
“At S4Solar, we believe solar should become so engrained in society that is becomes as standard as ‘A is for Apple’,” said Ben Staton, owner and manager of S4Solar. “Our hope is that one day all children will recognize ‘S is for Solar’, that’s what we named our company after.”
The goal of building a small solar system, primarily for public display, was to bring solar to the forefront of the zoo’s visitors, children and adults alike.
Small Size, Big Impact
The Hamilton Zoo wasn’t looking for a large system that would offset their energy consumption, but rather a small, visible system close to the ground. S4Solar designed a four-panel system that will be installed on top of a prominent, educational sign.
Being so close to the ground along one of the zoo’s common pathways, safety was the principal factor when choosing which technology to use. To avoid running high-voltage DC cables, S4Solar chose Enphase Microinverters for its all-AC approach.
“Enphase allows for the system to be visible to those on the ground, without having any dangerous equipment within reach,” said Staton.
Another important factor in choosing Enphase was Enlighten monitoring. The Hamilton Zoo wanted to see exactly how much power the system is capable of producing, which will help them decide whether to install additional, larger systems in other parts of the facility.
Aside from safer technology and detailed monitoring, Enphase offered something else that proved invaluable to the S4Solar team—support.
“Enphase engineers were always available to help us. They were responsive and honest, and nothing was too much of a problem for them,” said Staton. “We even had a small problem with the product at customs, but someone from Enphase turned up to deliver the product in person.”