Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has added solar panels that started producing electricity in December of 2015. The panels were installed by Green Earth Solar and supply power for TVA’s renewable energy program, Green Power Providers.
“As a Green Power participant, we are proud supporters of locally generated, renewable resources,” said Jay Bryan, director of Maintenance and Engineering for Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the first business in Gatlinburg to install solar panels, added three sections of solar panels with a 50 kilowatt (kw) section on the main roof and two smaller sections above the ticket booth and the Gatlinburg Trolley Stop awning. The 50 kw section increases the amount of renewable energy on the grid by selling the energy generated at the Aquarium through TVA’s Green Power Providers program.
The two smaller sections comprise a 13 kw section, feeding power back into the electrical panels while the larger 50 w system generates power sold for the grid. The smaller system allows for a reduction of usage and impact on the carbon footprint.
“Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is one of the few producers in Tennessee that is able to utilize the power that is being generated,” added Bryan. “This is a very exciting project and is a win-win situation. As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we are constantly striving to be better stewards of our planet. Ripley’s Entertainment is constantly exploring and implementing different technologies to improve our operations and guest experience.”
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the second most visited attraction in Tennessee, has been voted One of the Top 5 Aquariums in the USA & the World by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice in 2014 and 2015, Top Destination to See Penguins by USA Today and Forbes Traveler named it one of America’s Best Aquariums. Thousands of exotic sea creatures live in its 1.4 million gallons of water. The aquarium is known for its amazing shark exhibit that features 11-foot sharks and one of the most spectacular underwater tunnels in the world.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is part of the Ripley Entertainment family of worldwide entertainment facilities. More than 13 million people visit Ripley’s 60-plus attractions in 11 countries each year.
The aquarium is located at traffic light #5 on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, Tenn. and is open 365 days a year. For information call 888-240-1358.