Thanksgiving Point is making major steps toward energy conservation by partnering with Legend Solar to convert much of the Museum of Ancient Life’s energy to solar.
Officials with the museum announced Saturday morning that over the next decade, a 1,500 solar panel array will be installed on the museum’s roof, saving more than $1.5 million in power bills and contributing to 60 percent of the museum’s power use, thanks to a new partnership with Legend Solar.
The announcement was set for Saturday to coincide with the celebration of Earth Day.
“It’s a win-win situation for everybody involved,” said Jud Burkett, spokesman for Legend Solar. “We get to help provide a little bit more green power to some really awesome organizations and we help them in turn go green.”
The first panels will be installed in January 2018. In the meantime, the museum will be undergoing major renovations on the roof, where the panels will be installed, to better house the solar panels.
To better illustrate the volume of panels being installed on the museum, about 20 panels are installed on the average home when it’s converted to solar energy. Multiply that 75 times, and that’s what will power most of the Museum of Ancient Life, cutting out a dinosaur-sized carbon footprint.
“The fact that we’re going to offset more than half the Museum of Ancient Life’s power usage with clean energy means that much less carbon that Utah Valley residents will have to deal with,” Burkett said.
Burkett said the first panel installation being in January 2018 is a bit ironic considering that’s typically the time of year when Utah Valley suffers its worst inversion days. When air quality is poor and the smog is thick, Burkett hopes the museum will be an example of a cleaner environment.
“When that blanket of inversion rolls in, it makes life a lot less pleasant,” he said. “Solar is obviously a really great way to offset a lot of that inversion — to heat homes and provide power without polluting the atmosphere at the same time.”
Josh Berndt, spokesman for Thanksgiving Point, said in a perfect world, the entirety of Thanksgiving Point would run on solar energy. But anything promoting conservation is a step in the right direction, he said.
“Thanksgiving Point is doing something little by little to help the environment,” Berndt said, “even if it’s a little step here, recycling here, solar panels there, little by little, we’ll hopefully create some sort of awareness for the community.”
In addition to the announcement of the partnership with Legend Solar, Thanksgiving Point had special activities for children to understand more about the earth, such as making seed bombs, UV bead crafts and sun print paper kits.
Burkett said he hopes both children and adults walked away from Saturday’s festivities at Thanksgiving Point with a greater appreciation of the environment and resolve to do more in the future.
“We want future generations to be environmentally conscious,” he said. “We only have one planet.”
To find out more about events at Thanksgiving Point visit thanksgivingpoint.org/calendar.