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7 San Diego Attractions You Didn’t Know Were Solar-Powered

Danny Kennedy Posted by Danny Kennedy.

Danny is a global authority on environmental issues and a successful clean-tech entrepreneur.

7 San Diego Attractions You Didn’t Know Were Solar-Powered

Solar panels shine at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

San Diego is crazy for solar (no wonder, with all that sunshine). The city has 197.5 megawatts of solar power installed – that’s enough to power over 40,000 homes. So, where exactly is all that solar power hiding? Turns out, it’s busy powering some of your favorite local attractions.

San Diego welcomes its new solar-powered bike share program.

San Diego welcomes its new solar-powered bike share program.

1. San Diego Bike Share

Start your solar tour at San Diego’s new bike share program, operated by DECOBIKE. The program features over 1,800 bikes that you can rent on demand from any one of these stations located all over the city. The best part? The stations are solar powered and they operate day and night, so you can cruise to your heart’s content.

2. University of California – San Diego

If solar panels make you smart, then the students attending UC San Diego are brilliant. UC San Diego has over 2 megawatts of solar power installed on campus rooftops and parking garages, including the beloved Englekirk Structural Engineering Center, Scripps Institution of Oceanography support building, Nimitz Marine Facility and more.

3. Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Always the trendsetter, the Fleet Science Center was the first San Diego museum to go solar. The Center has over 10,000 square feet of solar panels installed on its rooftop.

Solar canopies at the San Diego Zoo.

Solar canopies at the San Diego Zoo.

4. San Diego Zoo

If you drive an electric vehicle, you’ll go wild over the San Diego Zoo’s solar-powered EV charging stations. The Zoo installed 5 charging stations to meet the growing demand in San Diego County – SDG&E reported that there already are more than 10,000 EV drivers in their service area. The 10 solar canopies at the Zoo provide more than just electricity: they also provide shade to 50 cars in the Zoo’s southeast parking area. See what inspired the project here.

5. Stone Brewery, Escondido

Looking to kick back at the end of a long day? Grab a solar-powered beer at the Stone Brewery in Escondido. Their rooftop solar panels produce about 30% of the power for the brewery and restaurant, preventing approximately 160 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually.

6. Gateway Chula Vista Center, Chula Vista

Chula Vista flipped the switch on 1,000 panel solar array in early 2015 as part of a campaign to win a $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize. In March, Chula Vista was selected as a semifinalist and will compete against 49 other cities across America to see which creative strategies can best reduce per capita energy consumption. Georgetown University will announce a winner in 2017.

7. Christmas on Knob Hill, San Marcos

‘Tis always the season for solar. The lighting display known as Christmas on Knob Hill has been a San Marcos tradition for years – and now, the festive display runs on solar energy. The family behind the display reported that their annual energy costs, including the Christmas display, will decrease from $5,000 to just under $500.

Bill Gilfillen, Christmas on Knob Hill's Santa, is a happy solar homeowner.

Bill Gilfillen, Christmas on Knob Hill’s Santa, is a happy solar homeowner.