In this up-and-down industry, the term “solar coaster” isn’t always a welcome analogy, but a major U.S. theme park is slated to give the phrase a new meaning.
Six Flags Great Adventure, which features various thrill rides and attractions, and partner KDC Solar have announced that construction will begin soon to make the New Jersey property one of the world’s first solar-powered theme parks.
“This is a proud day for our company. This project represents a giant step toward becoming a net-zero carbon facility,” says Six Flags Great Adventure Park President John Winkler. “We are pleased that we were able to come to a satisfactory agreement with all parties involved. Clean energy is right for the environment and our future, and we look forward to decades of environmental stewardship with our partner, KDC Solar.”
The 23.5 MW solar project will include solar carports over select parking lots and 40 acres of ground-mounted solar panels. Six Flags expects construction to begin by March and for the solar facility to be fully operational by the end of 2019.
In addition to the production of clean energy and helping to limit the park’s reliance on harmful fossil fuels, KDC Solar will use more than 99,000 hours of union labor in constructing this project.
Six Flags Great Adventure claims it has been a conservationist for nearly 45 years and has cared for more than 70 different species of animals, including some that are endangered and even extinct in the wild. The Jackson, N.J., theme park recycles more than 60% of its annual waste, including manure, paper, plastic, wood and mixed garbage. The theme park says it eliminated the use of paper towels in favor of energy-efficient hand dryers and is firmly committed to other energy-saving programs. In addition, Six Flags will preserve more than 200 acres of forest, wetlands and wetlands transition areas.
“We are continually searching for new ways to operate more efficiently and enhance our role as good stewards of the environment,” says Winkler.
“We are pleased to move forward with this groundbreaking solar project. Six Flags has been a patient and cooperative partner throughout this process, and we look forward to delivering clean renewable electricity to Six Flags. Once operational, this project will be the largest net-metered solar project in the state of New Jersey and very much in line with Governor Murphy’s pledge to support renewable energy,” says Alan Epstein, president and CEO of KDC Solar.
Photo courtesy of Six Flags Great Adventure
This article was originally featured on solarindustrymag.com.