With the benefits of renewable energy (particularly solar) being recognized by thousands of businesses, it’s no surprise that zoos around the world are going solar to save money and reducing their carbon footprint.

Caring for a park full of exotic animals takes a lot of power. Just think of all of the energy necessary to maintain habitat temperatures, filtration systems, food refrigeration – the costs really start to add up!

By utilizing solar, millions of dollars can be saved, which can then be reallocated to other necessities and programs for the park.

The Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee is the latest to make headlines with a 50kW solar power system, which was installed in January 2013. Locally, we have the Oakland Zoo which uses their solar to power an Education Center and the animal “talking boxes” located in front of many of the exhibits.

In November 2012, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. debuted their solar-powered Conservation Carousel to the delight of adults and children alike. This beautifully-crafted carousel has 58 hand-carved and painted animals, including an elephant, giraffe, pandas, lions, and a host of other creatures.


Most zoos also have a number of green initiatives to help them in other areas of conservation, such as recycling, composting (think food scraps and elephant poop as fertilizer), and rain collectors for watering plants.

Opinions vary on the ethics of zoos, as the debate over the animals’ quality of life in these continues.  Nevertheless, it appears that the zoo as part of our collective culture is here to stay.  So is solar power, which goes a long way to improve everyone’s quality of life, whether two or four-footed, making us all more comfortable in our skin…or fur…or feathers…or fins…

Solar powered zoos? They’re a natural!