From the air, the solar panels that power Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, seem endless. KDC Solar says their 23.5-megawatt solar project for the theme park is now complete.
Construction on the system began last fall and now includes 11 MW of solar carports over three large parking lots and 12.5 MW on 40 acres of ground-mounted solar panels, according to KDC Solar and Six Flags Entertainment Corporation. In the first year of operation, the solar facility is expected to produce around 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity, Solar Power World reported.
A net metering system means Six Flags can generate its own renewable energy and export it to the grid for local homes and businesses. With 59,856 solar panels installed, the project is the largest net metered solar project in New Jersey, and it makes Six Flags Great Adventure one of the first solar-powered theme parks in the world, the two companies say.
“This project represents a giant step toward becoming a net-zero carbon facility,” said John Winkler, president of Six Flags Great Adventure Park. “We are continually searching for new ways to operate more efficiently and enhance our role as good stewards of the environment.”
In addition to delivering renewable energy, Six Flags reported that the project preserved more than 200 acres of forest, wetlands, and wetlands transition areas.
Currently the corporation, which has $1.5 billion in revenue, is the largest theme park company worldwide as well as the largest operator of waterparks in North America. In February 2018, Six Flags announced plans to bring solar power to more parks, including a system exceeding 7 MW for Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California, and a nearly 15-MW system for Magic Mountain near Los Angeles. Once complete, the Magic Mountain carport could become the largest anywhere in North America.
“The solar economic benefits at these sites is immense,” Kyle Goehring, vice president and director of clean energy for project advisors JLL, said at the time.