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Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Project Overview

In the fall of 2020, Third Sun Solar installed a ground-mounted solar array as part of a larger microgrid installation at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

From the beginning, Third Sun Solar worked closely with Worley and Claypool Electric to design and present a microgrid solution to the Columbus Zoo and American Electric Power (AEP). After many meetings and presentations, the group was a finalist and ultimately awarded this project through a competitive selection process. A microgrid is a grouping of electrical loads that are normally connected to one grid but can also disconnect to an “island mode” where it functions independently. When on “island mode,” the microgrid at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will be powered by solar and battery systems. The 134.4 kW ground-mounted solar array, designed and installed by Third Sun Solar, provides power to the microgrid system. Worley contracted Third Sun Solar to construct and design the solar portion of the array. Worley designed and engineered the battery energy storage system, and Third Sun Solar partnered with Claypool Electric to build and install the entire system. The ground-mounted solar array powers an extensive battery system behind the meter of the Polar Frontier complex. The energy from the solar panels is used in the batteries and helps to power a portion of the polar bear exhibit, and the entire system works like a backup generator, providing renewable energy when needed.

A Groundbreaking Project

AEP Ohio is a subsidiary of AEP and commissioned the microgrid project. The microgrid at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is the first of its kind for the company. The microgrid is a “demonstration” system that will allow AEP Ohio to monitor the applications and functions of a microgrid at this scale. AEP Ohio will learn how independent, customer-sited, behind-the-meter microgrids can help the customer and the utility grid alike. In addition to AEP Ohio, utilities across the country will be eager to understand the value the microgrid provides.
Third Sun Solar is proud to be a partner in this innovative project, in collaboration with Claypool Electric, Worley, and AEP Ohio.

More about Third Sun Solar

Third Sun Solar is Ohio’s leading full-service solar installation company, providing top-quality design and installation since 2000, serving residential and commercial clients in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and beyond.

More about Worley

WorleyParsons Limited, branded as Worley after completing Jacobs’ Energy, Chemicals & Resources division, is an engineering company that provides project delivery and consulting services to the resources and energy sectors and complex process industries.

More about Claypool Electric

Claypool Electric, Inc. is the preferred provider of electrical and communications infrastructure projects in Central Ohio. Family-owned since 1954, they have maintained a reputation for excellence in the craft and integrity in dealings.

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