GEM Energy Solar Array Adds Power to Toledo Zoo

Bordered by a buffer zone with newly planted trees and green spaces for native grasses that will be planted this fall, the 28,500-panel solar array is one of the largest in the nation to supply power to a zoo.

TOLEDO, Ohio, Sept. 17, 2014 – A 22-acre brownfield site in South Toledo, Ohio, once in receivership, is starting a new life as home to a field solar array that will supply about 30 percent of the Toledo Zoo's electricity each year.

Bordered by a buffer zone with newly planted trees and green spaces for native grasses that will be planted this fall, the 28,500-panel solar array is one of the largest in the nation to supply power to a zoo.

GEM Energy celebrated the commissioning of the array in July with business and local government leaders.

The array and property are owned by a group of investors as part of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) structured by GEM Energy, which also designed, developed and constructed the solar array. The ground-mount system contains no moving parts, and is expected to produce approximately 2.1MW per year. This is equivalent to the electricity use of 308 homes and has offsets the greenhouse gas emissions of 472 passenger vehicles.

Jeff Sailer, executive director of the Toledo Zoo, said, "Environmental stewardship is an integral part of the Toledo Zoo's mission. This solar array supports the Zoo's mission by using cleaner and greener energy, reducing reliance on non-renewable energy while providing an inspiring example for Zoo visitors."

"This project is a great example of the public and private sectors working together to benefit the zoo and the community," said Jason Slattery, director of solar for GEM Energy. "We took a contaminated brownfield site, a financial burden for the City of Toledo, and turned it into a win for both the city and the Toledo Zoo."

In 2010, the company also designed and built the Toledo Zoo's Solar Walk. The Solar Walk includes more than 1,400 solar panels and is designed to resemble a snake winding along the perimeter of the zoo parking lot to the entrance. Last year, the Solar Walk generated 99,041.29 kWh of electricity equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of nine and half homes or 159 barrels of oil.

GEM Energy is ranked 28th among Solar Power World's Top 50 Solar Developers in the U.S., 70th among the magazine's Top 100 Commercial Solar Contractors, and 154th on the magazine's list of Top 400 Solar Contractors for 2014.

GEM Energy is the only Ohio contractor to make the Top 100 Commercial Solar Contractors list and the highest ranking Ohio contractor recognized on the Top 50 Solar Developers list, with 2.153 megawatts installed in 2013 and a total 11.155 megawatts installed.

About GEM Energy: GEM Energy is a turnkey solar developer with engineering, procurement and construction capabilities, as well as operations and maintenance. GEM Energy optimizes the efficiency of facilities for reduced lifetime operating costs. The company's comprehensive energy services and technologies include integration of power generation, advanced heating and cooling systems, procurement, solar development and FlexSet energy monitoring/building control systems for commercial, industrial, institutional and mission critical facilities. GEM Energy is the authorized distributor for Capstone Micro Turbines in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and New York. For more information, please visit

About the Toledo Zoo: The Toledo Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. after May 3. The Zoo is located on the Anthony Wayne Trail (US 25), four miles south of downtown Toledo. For more information, please visit or call 419.385.4040.

The Toledo Zoo is committed to inspiring others to join in caring for animals and conserving the natural world. As part of that mission, the Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a leader in global wildlife conservation. AZA member institutions are dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors and a better future for all living things.

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