Pacific Power installed the Motech Americas panels and the 756 roof-mounted solar panels provide 111 percent of the electricity the museum’s massive facility uses.
Pacific Power approached the museum management, said executive director Roxanne Yonn.
“We’re a nonprofit, so we have to be very careful about how we spend our donor’s money,” Yonn said. “We were able to work something out where there was no outlay.”
But she said the power purchase agreement saves the museum on its energy bill.
“We have a large building,” Yonn said. “And we use a lot of power, so we loved the idea of being able to save some money.”
She said the museum roof was ideal for a solar installation and the panels have proven to be an asset for the museum so far.
“We also have an education mission here,” she said. The rooftop solar goes hand-in-hand with our science and engineering education goals.”
School groups ranging from elementary school-age children to college students come through the museum.
“We have aircraft from the early 1900s to space exploration exhibits,” Yonn said.
The museum started as a way to preserve aircraft after a military based closed up. But now it has aircraft and spacecraft equipment from every branch of the military and every era, including the space travel era.
The solar panels on the roof add another dimension to the museum and its education efforts. In addition to explaining the planes and the history of air travel to California students, museum staff can discuss new energy technology and how it works on the building.
There are even opportunities to discuss how solar is being used in air and space travel today.