Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and SDG&E unveil solar panel installation and plans for interactive exhibition on energy

New solar array generates clean electricity for San Diego's power grid

Apr 23, 2007

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Peter Hidalgo

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Jeremy Pyle

San Diego Gas & Electric

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

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        SAN DIEGO, Calif., April 23, 2007 -- The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) today unveiled the installation of more than 10,000 square feet of solar panels on the roof of the Science Center, generating clean electricity for San Diegans and serving as the centerpiece for an upcoming interactive exhibition on alternative energy.

        The result of a partnership between the Fleet Science Center, SDG&E and the City of San Diego, the new solar photovoltaic (PV) system generates more than 100 kilowatts (kW) of electricity at peak production – enough to light 1,700 60-watt bulbs or power about 65 homes.  Owned and operated by SDG&E, the new solar panels feed electricity directly into the region’s power grid.  This contribution of clean solar energy will prevent the release of approximately 60 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.  Scientists are now convinced that carbon dioxide is one of the primary agents contributing to global warming.

        “As the first San Diego museum to install a solar power system of this magnitude, we’re excited and proud to lead the charge toward cleaner air locally and help mitigate the effects of climate change globally,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kirsch, executive director of the Fleet Science Center. 
Dr. Kirsch also chairs the Education Committee for “International Action on Global Warming” (IGLO), a major education and outreach initiative led by the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC).

        “SDG&E is committed to meeting our customers’ energy needs in the most environmentally responsible manner possible,” said Michael R. Niggli, chief operating officer of SDG&E.  “We are more than halfway to having 20 percent of our electricity resources come from clean, renewable sources, such as solar, by 2010.  This project – just one of many SDG&E-owned PV systems in the works through our Sustainable Communities Program – is another positive step toward that goal.”

        The Sustainable Communities Program promotes green building, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

        In addition to generating clean electricity, the solar panel system will be the centerpiece of a new hands-on science exhibition at the Fleet called “So WATT! An Illuminating Look at Energy,” scheduled to open August 11, 2007.  Designed and built by Fleet Science Center staff, and made possible by grants from SDG&E, Shell Trading and the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, the exhibition will take visitors on a guided tour of solar power and other “green” sources of electricity.  The exhibition also will introduce visitors to the basics of electricity and offer tips on how people can conserve energy at home and at work.

        The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center has already made major progress in reducing its environmental impact, including projects that have dramatically reduced energy and water consumption. In fact, the Fleet uses less electricity today than it did before its 1998 expansion, which doubled the size of the facility.  Moreover, the Fleet is currently in the process of obtaining LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

        Facts about the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s Solar Panel System:
        • At peak capacity (100 kW) the Fleet’s solar panel system will generate enough electricity to:
        • Light 1,700 60-watt light bulbs, or
        • Light 6,700 15-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs, or
        • Power 65 typical households.
        • The Fleet’s solar panel system will generate more than 134,000 kilowatt hours of clean, renewable energy each year, while preventing the emission of:
        • 143 pounds of nitrogen oxides
        • 83 pounds of sulfur dioxide.
        • The Fleet’s solar panel system also will prevent roughly 60 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere every year.  This is equivalent to taking 10 cars or seven SUVs off the road, or planting 16 acres of trees.
        • San Marcos-based Independent Energy Solutions designed and built the system using 684 modules manufactured by Kyocera Solar, Inc.  The photovoltaic array orientation is south at 5 degrees tilt from horizontal.

        About the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
        The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (“the Fleet”) offers an educational, entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.  The Fleet features seven galleries of exciting, hands-on science exhibits, as well as major traveling exhibitions. Our 76-foot IMAX Dome Theater, the first in the world, presents the biggest films on the planet, planetarium shows and more.  Located at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the public’s understanding and enjoyment of science and technology. Visit or call 619-238-1233 for show times and hours of operation.

        About San Diego Gas & Electric
        SDG&E currently serves 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 830,000 natural gas meters.  The utility’s service area spans 4,100 square miles and serves customers in more than 125 communities from Southern Orange County to the Mexican border.  SDG&E is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.  To learn more, go to

        About Shell Trading
        Shell Trading Gas and Power (Coral Energy Holding, L.P.) operates throughout North America as part of the global Shell Trading network and provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services associated with natural gas and wholesale power marketing and trading. To learn more, visit