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SolarWorld solar panels form huge parking canopy, providing electricity and shelter at Cincinnati Zoo

Zoo’s 1.56-megawatt system is considered largest publicly accessible urban array

HILLSBORO, Ore., May 9, 2011 – Families visiting a most mainstream community, educational and recreational center in America’s heartland, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, are enjoying protection from the weather elements from beneath parking-lot canopy systems composed of 6,400 high-performance solar panels made by SolarWorld, the largest U.S. manufacturer of solar technology for more than 35 years.

The 1.56-megawatt system, considered the largest publicly accessible solar array in an urban setting, provides a prominent example of a parking-lot canopy solar system far to the east of California, where such applications are more common. Canopy systems tap unobstructed air space to generate clean power from the sun while providing shelter from all types of weather. This spring, the company is completing a 30-kilowatt canopy system for its visitor parking lot in front of its recently expanded and modernized U.S. headquarters building in Hillsboro, Ore.

The zoo project marks the arrival of not only solar canopies but also large-scale solar at a core community gathering place in Cincinnati, where elected and zoo officials were scheduled today to dedicate the system.

“It’s gratifying – and fun – to see the technology that SolarWorld pioneered for so long using American labor on U.S. soil star in this Midwest showcase,” said Raju Yenamandra, vice president for sales and business development in the Americas and an employee of SolarWorld’s plant in Camarillo since 1980. “When I started my career, solar was a novel but promising power-generation alternative to fossil fuels. Since then, our technology has built a long track record of reliability. Now, this project signifies its arrival at center stage of American life.”

The system of 15 arrays at the Cincinnati Zoo, developed, engineered and installed by Melink Corp., covers 800 of the 1,000 parking spaces in the zoo’s main parking lot. Combined, the arrays covering four acres are expected to provide about 20 percent of the zoo’s power needs while saving millions of dollars over coming years. Melink, itself based in Milford, Ohio, used not only U.S.-made solar technology and American installation labor but also metal canopy structures fabricated in Ohio for a project almost entirely sourced domestically.

“SolarWorld was an excellent fit for the Cincinnati Zoo project,” said David Boezi, Vice President of Operations for Melink. “The company’s fully vertically integrated American manufacturing and its technology’s strong technical performance in independent testing were key decision points for us.  The solar canopy at the Cincinnati Zoo was a significant investment for Melink, and we wanted a solar panel that was well-proven and guaranteed to produce as promised.”

For more information about solar canopies, go to SolarWorld’s blog.

SolarWorld Real Value

SolarWorld manufactures and sells solar power solutions and in doing so contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. As the largest solar producer in the United States and Europe, SolarWorld employs about 3,200 people and carries out production in Hillsboro, Ore., and Freiberg and Arnstadt, Germany. From the raw material silicon to solar wafers, cells and panels, SolarWorld manages all stages of production ‒ including its own research and development. The company maintains high social standards at all locations across the globe and is committed to resource- and energy-efficient production. Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, SolarWorld was founded in 1998 and has been publicly traded on the stock market since 1999. For more information, visit

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