Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park is making waves today, not because of some all new ride, though it does have one of those, but because the park’s 23.5 MW solar project is finally complete. And, for any thrill seekers out there, the installation is visible not only from the top of the aforementioned Wonder Woman Whip of Truth ride, the world’s tallest pendulum ride, but also from the Nitro roller coaster.
The new installation by KDC Solar not only makes Six Flags Great Adventure one of the world’s first solar-powered amusement parks. More importantly, the park’s installations now dethrone DSM North America’s 20.2 MWdc solar power facility as being New Jersey’s largest net metered solar project.
The project is made up of four separate arrays over two locations. The first 11 MW is located on solar carports over three parking lots, while the remaining 12.5 MW comprises on 40 acres of ground-mounted solar panels. What this adds up to is enough energy to power almost the entirety of the park’s electricity needs, clocking in at just over 98%.
And, in addition to powering the park through renewable energy, the installation has led to the preservation of more than 200 acres of forest, wetlands and wetlands transition areas. Preservation was a key issue early in the project’s conception, as the original plans called for the clear-cutting of 100 acres of forest and wetlands. Sierra Club immediately took issue with this, describing the project as “a black eye for green energy” in 2016 and saying “Cutting 18,000 trees will undermine the entire purpose of installing a solar farm,” in 2015.
However, compromise was reached, and the clear-cutting was slashed, pun intended, from 134 acres, down to 40 acres. Sierra Club approved of this compromise, with Jeff Tittel, president of Sierra Club’s New Jersey branch saying:
Six Flags will get a solar farm while we get to preserve forested lands. Everyone wins today.
And, in a case of good news just getting better, John Winkler, president of Six Flags Great Adventure, has stated that as new technologies are implemented the last two or so percent of the park’s electricity needs will be met with renewable energy.
“This is a thrilling day for our company. This project represents a giant step toward becoming a net-zero carbon facility,” said Winkler.
We also recently saw Walt Disney World unveil its 50 MW solar farm set to power two of the company’s parks in Florida. Hopefully these two examples can start a trend and lead other amusement parks towards transitioning to renewables. Speaking of things we’d like to see, we at pv magazine are interested in getting a look at this groundbreaking solar installation, maybe from atop the Nitro roller coaster, just in case anyone from Six Flags is reading. Stay tuned.