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Solar project saves Sea Center thousands of dollars now shifting to programs and exhibits

Sea Center Solar panels
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
New solar panels are now powering the Santa Barbara Sea Center and saving the Museum of Natural History thousands of dollars.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -  The sun is being harnessed into the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center on Stearns Wharf in a collaboration that is a win for the non-profit and also the environment.

The cost of the system was covered by Asteri Solar and Mission Wealth  and coordinated by the Community Environmental Council (CEC) with its Solarize Nonprofit program.    The installation was done by Sun Pacific Solar Electric, Inc.

It is a 52-kilowatt solar electric system.

Over the next 25 years it is expected to save at least $300,000.

"This is a show piece of where Santa Barbara is going as a green community," said Museum of Natural History President Luke Swetland.   He called the project  "a tremendous fit."

Community Environmental Council Renewable Energy Manager April Price said at an afternoon ceremony it is an example of the community efforts to reduce environmental impacts.    "We have visitors that come, local folks and from all over the state and all over the world that are coming to Santa Barbara and coming to the Sea Center to see that exact commitment that you have made to reduce your energy impact."   The city has a 100 percent renewable energy goal.

The CEC has also helped residential homeowners defer the cost of a solar electric systems through it's programs and rebates.

Other locations were this kind of financing has taken place include the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Central Coast–Santa Maria Campus, and Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. 

 The savings from the solar project  goes back to the Sea Center’s programs, exhibits  "and fish food, " said Swetland.

John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and KCOY 12 Central Coast News.