The National Aquarium and Constellation are proud to announce the installation of a solar tree on Pier 4 of the Baltimore Inner Harbor, highlighting and celebrating a shared commitment to supporting clean energy development. The solar tree is a large-scale sculpture, a functioning solar power collector and a symbol of energy stewardship. It is just one part of the organizations' combined commitment to a net-zero greenhouse gas emission Aquarium. It is also one of the next elements of the National Aquarium's waterfront campus.
On Tuesday, June 28, senior leadership from the National Aquarium and Constellation united for a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of the solar tree project. By day, the installation will actively harvest solar power through several solar panels on its branches, which will feed electricity into the National Aquarium. By night, the tree will have an illuminating presence with energy-efficient LED lighting. Guests can learn more about these features through an interpretive graphic panel near the tree.
"The National Aquarium continues to lead by example by setting aggressive sustainability goals and educating our community on the importance of environmental stewardship–both critical elements in addressing the climate crisis," said Constellation President and CEO Joe Dominguez. "We're proud of our long-sustained partnership and look forward to continued collaboration in the years ahead."
In April, the National Aquarium announced its commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. The 13-year initiative will tackle the urgent issue of global climate change and is aligned with the Aquarium's Conservation Action Plan goal to combat climate change.
As part of its broader commitment to support renewable energy and practice environmental stewardship, the National Aquarium partnered with Constellation and OneEnergy Renewables in 2014 to develop a 4.3-megawatt solar project in Cambridge, Maryland. The Aquarium has also worked with Constellation to manage its utility costs and conserve energy by incorporating other best practices in sustainable operations, such as replacing fluorescent lightbulbs with high-efficiency LED bulbs throughout the Aquarium's campus.
"Our bold commitment to be net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 is achievable in part thanks to support from our long-standing partner, Constellation," said National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli. "Efficiency upgrades and support for the development of the solar facility, which generates an amount of energy that is equivalent to 40% of our annual electricity usage, will help us reach this critical goal. We are proud to share this latest achievement, the solar tree, with the community and guests of the National Aquarium."
The solar tree is located on Pier 4 on the Aquarium's campus and is one of the next elements of the Aquarium's waterfront campus project. The future waterfront campus will be situated in the waterway between Piers 3 and 4. It will soon come to life with plants, grasses and animal species native to the Chesapeake Bay. These floating wetlands will foster species' recovery within the Inner Harbor while also supporting improvements to the waterway. The wetlands will not only beautify and enhance the surroundings; they will allow thousands of local students and millions of Inner Harbor visitors to experience the real Chesapeake Bay as part of their Baltimore experience, every day throughout the year.