As part of the Toledo Zoo’s ongoing mission to “conserve the natural world,” the organization turned its focus toward energy and the pursuit of a solar project that could help the Zoo have visibility into its future electricity costs and consumption. Once the Zoo committed to solar, they needed to identify an energy partner with the experience, strength, financial stability and flexibility to complete a project of this type.

For solar projects to take shape and move forward, there are many variables that need to come together precisely and within an established time window. This includes identifying and securing property, getting solar credits, procuring financing, as well as recognizing and navigating environmental concerns to having the necessary power available. After another energy supplier was unable to bring all the moving parts together in a timely fashion, GEM Energy stepped in and made the Zoo’s ground array a reality. Rudolph Libbe Group design/built the project utilizing multiple self-performing trade specialties including site work and electrical.

In addition, GEM Energy was able to coordinate a power purchase agreement that provided the solar power the Zoo needed without increasing its energy expenditures, which was a major goal of the organization. The 2 MW ground array on a 22-acre repurposed brownfield is now providing 30% of the Zoo’s annual electricity needs. With the power purchase agreement in place, the Zoo has a 20-year locked-in rate for its electric costs.


We knew we wanted to move toward solar power as part of our conservation efforts. The key was being able to make the commitment without having to spend more money than we currently were for grid power. Not only did GEM Energy help make this a reality, they were able to do so without requiring us to provide any additional capital expenditures.

Rick Payeff, Director of Facilities
Toledo Zoo

Photo Gallery

Project Overview

In the News

From Our Blog