Oct 20, 2022

Planned Raptor Pen to Get Solar Boost


DCHS's Wildlife Center recently received several grants to add solar panels to the project onto our 100-foot raptor flight enclosure

If you haven’t heard the incredible news, DCHS’s Wildlife Center has been awarded multiple large grants that will be used for a new design of the 100-foot flight pen. Three grants have been awarded to the project from the Office of Energy Innovation (OEI), MadiSUN Backyard Solar, and Solar for Good totaling $218,313 and counting. In addition, the new Inflation Reduction Act will provide a direct pay of 30% towards the solar expenses for this project.

The plan is to construct an L-shaped building that will include solar panels at the south and east wings of the roof. The solar panels will be bifacial, absorbing light from both sides for greatest efficiency, and will be built for year-round use.

Additionally, the project will add solar panels to the already existing Wildlife Center main hospital building. This solar system will be a hybrid system, able to store energy in batteries on site at DCHS as well as connect to the energy grid.

The goal is to bridge the gap between wildlife rehabilitation, conservation, and the renewable energy sector and be a model for other shelters to potentially replicate.

Companies have already begun to provide DCHS with bids for the project, and staff are in the process of preparing permit applications, timelines, and approvals, etc.

None of this could have been possible without the many donations from our generous supporters over the last few years. This generosity has allowed us to move forward in an innovative way that will also support sustainability goals.

In the end, it will be a revolutionary solar-paneled roof flight enclosure that produces 77 kW, which is capable of offsetting energy use in the Wildlife Center, our Sundance Center, and the Maddie’s Felines in Treatment (F.I.T.) Center buildings.

We look forward to the start of construction in 2023!

Paige Pederson is the Wildlife Operations Supervisor at DCHS’s Wildlife Center.

Top: Current flight pen designs, courtesy of Bill Montelbeno. Above: Proposed location for the 100-foot flight pen.

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