Solar Flower Power at the Detroit Zoo

The Detroit Zoo is putting the 'petal' to the metal in its ongoing efforts to be environmentally sustainable with the installation of the 'Smartflower' an all-in-one, ground-mounted solar panel system.

 CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society Ron Kagan said  "this is part of our green journey. We were awarded the greenest zoo in the country a couple of years ago and we're doing a lot of things in terms of sustainability, this is just our latest one. First in Michigan, first in any zoo. It's super cool." 

The Smartflower can generate 40% more energy than a traditional solar panel system, enough to power the wildlife carousel next to it, as well as other areas of the zoo.

 "It's really important because it not only generates electricity but it also stops a lot of visitors who are going 'what is that?' and it gives us a chance to have a conversation about renewable energy.  We think both because of what it actually generates and because of the interest and educational value, it's a really powerful tool," Kagan said.

This is just another step forward in promoting sustainability, along with something else many zoo-goers may not have noticed. 

 "We don't sell water bottles, but we've got lots and lots of filtered water stations everywhere that are free for people," Kagan said.

The Detroit Zoo has also partnered with SmartBus. If patrons can prove that they rode SmartBus to the zoo admission is $2.00 off, along with a wristband for a free drink and a free SmartBus ride back to where they came from.

"Ideally, if everybody did that, it would keep 60 cars off the road, which would have a huge impact also on sustainability. It's kind of a neat partnership and Smart's been fantastic to work with. There's a bus stop right at our front door," Kagan said.