World's First Net Positive Energy Botanical Garden Complex Powers Up with 57,000 Square Feet of Solar Arrays

Business

Photo courtesy of Selby Gardens.

A pinnacle solar panel ‘Power On’ moment has arrived at the 15-acre bayfront sanctuary, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus, the World’s First Net Positive Energy Botanical Garden Complex and home of the World’s First Net Positive Energy Restaurant. A “Flip the Switch” solar panel dedication ceremony was held on Thursday, June 27, 2024, for the organizations’ trustees, advisory committee members, donors, government officials, and members of the press and media. Switching on the innovative solar arrays is the latest advance since the January Grand Opening of Phase One of Selby Gardens’ Three Phase Master Plan, a $52 million expansion. The Master Plan has been guided by the international landscape architecture studio OLIN, building architecture firm Overland Partners, Civil Engineer Kimley-Horn, and Willis Smith as construction manager. Selby Garden’s Phase One is powered by Barancik Foundation. As the switch flips on the state-of-the-art, 2,158 panel solar arrays, the clock starts ticking on a 12-month monitoring period for both Living Building and Living Community Petal Certification by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) to demonstrate the project produces more power than it consumes. A 50,000 square foot solar network atop a uniquely landscaped parking structure, a groundbreaking restaurant, and a plant shop, form the Morganroth Family Living Energy Access Facility (LEAF). This facility acts as the project’s true powerhouse, a model of green subregional infrastructure, supporting a solar array spanning more than one acre. The Elizabeth Moore Rooftop Garden and solar array located atop the Steinwachs Family Plant Research Center adds an additional 7,000 square feet of solar capacity. Together these installations provide a combined 57,000 square feet of solar infrastructure developed, engineered, and constructed by One80 Solar, supercharging Selby Gardens’ net positive energy status. Phase One will produce an astonishing 1.27 million kilowatt-hours of power per year, enough to power 175 average American homes. That output is expected to exceed all the facility’s energy demands by 10%. Additional benefits of the one-of-a-kind solar array include: Saving Selby Gardens over $100,000 annually in energy costs; Offset 975 tons of CO2 annually, equivalent to taking 211 cars off the road or the amount of carbon sequestered by 1,000 acres of US Forest; Provides 100% carbon-free cooking for the fully electrified, seasonally inspired culinary destination.

Photo courtesy of Selby Gardens.

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