Spectrum News recently published a profile about the Cincinnati Zoo's numerous conservation projects and the technology they use to accomplish them. Its most well-known project was the installation of large solar panels over the zoo's parking lot in 2011. Other projects have blossomed from there, and Mark Fisher, the zoo's vice president of facilities and sustainability, even said that "the zoo is already so far along with its progress that getting to net zero status before 2025 is well within reach."
In addition to the solar panel array, the zoo also stores about 500,000 of rainwater under two of its exhibits, which it uses to provide water for itself and the animals. It also sports an aerobic bio-digester, which converts organic waste into nutrient-rich soil.
The Cincinnati Zoo's project offers a window into the different technologies available to Ohioans who want to increase their sustainability and contribute to environmental conservation.
Ohio Solar Power
Solar power is a growing industry in Ohio. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Ohio ranked 9th in the nation in terms of job opportunities in solar power in 2020. Moreover, the number of solar powered energy systems began to sharply increase in 2020 as solar panels became cheaper to produce. Prices for solar power declined by 4% from 2016 to 2021. This has had the effect of drawing more solar producers to the state.
In fact, Ohio has one of the largest solar panel manufacturing plants in the world. Located in Perrysburg, Ohio, First Solar's manufacturing plant recently invested $680 million to expand their facility. Perrysbury is near Toledo, which is one of the country's leading glass producers (a necessary component for the production of solar panels), First Solar is a vital part of northern Ohio's economy. According to Mike Koralewski, First Solar’s chief manufacturing and operations officer, the expansion should bring about 700 full time jobs to the local area when it's finished.
Using Solar Power
What if you're an Ohio resident or business and you want to make your facilities more energy efficient and sustainable? The state government will actually help you install solar panels on your house through the Energy Conservation for Ohioans Linked Deposit Program (ECO-Link). ECO-Link offers financing for home improvement programs like adding solar panels. It also finances roof repairs, remodeling, heat and cooling system replacements, and even landscaping. Eligible ECO-Link projects can get up to a 3% interest rate reduction for loans up to $50,000.
There's a similar program for small business called Re-Energize Ohio, which offers reduced-rate loans for facility expansion and investment in energy-saving technologies. You can also use associated funds for upgrading your equipment. Small businesses headquartered in Ohio with less than 150 employees are eligible for the Re-Energize Ohio program.
There are a variety of technologies that your business can use to stay environmentally friendly, in addition to solar powered energy grids. Titan Tech can help you identify which renovations are worthwhile (and affordable). They can also point you in the right direction when it comes to identifying the best providers for that technology. Give them a call today to see how they can help you.
And stay tuned for more tech news later this week.