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San Francisco Exploratorium at Pier 15 Powered 100% by Solar

Linda Hardesty

Del Monte Electric solar panelsThe San Francisco Exploratorium at Pier 15 underwent a $300 million renovation on the waterfront Embarcadero to become the largest net-zero-energy museum in the United States.

The interactive science museum, which reopened April 17, features nearly 6,000 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the 330,000-sq-foot roof facility. Del Monte Electric installed the solar panels, which were manufactured by SunPower.

The PV panels will generate 1.4 MW of DC power, which converts into 1.3 MW of AC to support 100 percent of the energy demand for the Exploratorium.

The interactive science museum also features a bay water heating and cooling system that circulates about 74,000 gallons of water per hour throughout the facility. The cold temperature of the bay water will be used to cool the building, and for heating it will be passed through electric heat pumps, according to Inhabitat.

Earlier this year, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium announced a goal to cut the energy consumption of its 83-year-old historic building in half by 2020, saving 10 million kWh annually. The Aquarium also set a goal to become a clean-energy-powered cultural institution through a mix of smart energy strategies.



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