The Arnold W. Fritz Solar Array

Panels in Real-time

Thanks to a generous grant from the Daniel M. and Maureen O. Gunn Foundation, The Wilderness Center completed the installation of its solar photovoltaic (electrical) system in April 2012.  With the permission of the Gunn Foundation, the project was dedicated to one of TWC’s founders, Arnold W. Fritz, retired professor of biology at Malone University.  Mr. Fritz was a driving force behind the creation of The Wilderness Center in 1964 and was a proponent of sustainable energy for many years.

The 71.76 kW PV (Photo Voltaic) solar array was installed by Dovetail Solar and Wind, an Ohio-based company with 16 years experience in renewable energy system design, installation and green building.

The system’s array was built over part of TWC’s overflow parking area and features:

    • 312 Hyundai Heavy Industries 230 watt modules
    • 2 PV Powered 35 kW Inverters grid tied
    • 2 Schletter Raised Solar Structures – 156 modules (87 feet long)

The system is expected to produce approximately 79,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, providing more than half of the Hart Interpretive Building’s electrical needs each year.  According to Dovetail Solar and Wind, this part of Ohio averages about 4 hours of sunlight per day, over a one-year period – an amount sufficient to operate the system.

TWC’s system is grid-tied, meaning we use electricity from the electric company during the times when the solar panels are not producing energy.  TWC is provided credit for its surplus by American Electrical Power.  At night and on overcast days, TWC draws on utility company power.

The Wilderness Center’s solar photovoltaic system began operation on the day of its dedication ceremony, April 21, 2012.

The Gunn Foundation grant made the installation possible and The Wilderness Center raised another $22,000 to pay for this project.  TWC did this by asking members and friends of the Center to help support the project by donating the cost of a whole panel for $400, a half-panel for $200, or a quarter-panel for $100.  Panels are still available for purchase!

TWC also created a display and other teaching materials to explain how solar power works and its benefits.  TWC’s system is expected to reduce emissions by 1,574 tons of CO2 over the next 25 years – the environmental equivalent of 5,121,123 miles not driven or 27 acres of trees planted.

Donate a Whole Panel $400

Donate a Half Panel $200

Donate a Quarter Panel