Solar at the Eugene Science Center (formerly the Science Factory) in Eugene, OR, helped them sustain their educational science programs and exhibits.
This project included the development of an interactive solar exhibit that demonstrates how solar panels work while empowering community members to invest in solar and other clean energy sources.
The Eugene Science Center achieved a remarkable milestone with the installation of a 30.4 kW photovoltaic (PV) solar energy system. In its first year of operation, the system generated impressive savings of approximately $4,900. A moment of triumph came when the center received its first $0 electricity bill after the system went live. These significant financial gains have unlocked new possibilities, allowing the center to redirect funds from utility expenses towards enriching their educational initiatives. Visitors now have the opportunity to actively engage with sustainable energy resources through captivating hands-on exhibits, including a visually unique solar installation on the main building and the outdoor classroom. This experience fosters a deeper appreciation for renewable energy's importance.
In line with their commitment to education, the addition of solar exhibits enhances the visitor experience. Real-time and historical displays showcase the remarkable energy generation of the two arrays, providing tangible insights into the impact of renewable energy. Finally, an interactive exhibit simplifies the inner workings of a photovoltaic cell, explaining how sunlight photons interact with electrons in the solar panel to produce sustainable energy.
With an annual visitor count of 35,000, the Eugene Science Center aims to attract even more participants, targeting a growth to 60,000 visitors in the future. The energy savings from the PV array significantly offset the center's operating costs, enabling them to maintain and expand their diverse range of programs, benefiting the local community.
"By embracing the transformative potential of solar energy, the Eugene Science Center stands as a shining exemplar of environmental stewardship, igniting a profound connection between science, education, and the wider community." said, Tim Scott, Executive Director. "Our journey into renewable energy has not only propelled us towards a greener future but has also empowered us to inspire and educate visitors about the significance of sustainable practices."
THANK YOU to individuals and organizations who have made contributions to help bring solar to the Eugene Science Center!
Special Thanks to....
Mark Berria, Mathew Bon, Eric Bumbalough, Kyle Collins, Jack Lambert, Richard & Darlene Marino, Charissa Nelson, Joshua Zelinsky, Mathew Bon, Amazon Smile, Google, Gumerlock Family Foundation.