As I mentioned in my last update, Tennessee has recently implemented solar traffic lights all over the place. On a recent trip to the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, not only did I see several more examples of this on the interstate, but I saw some even more interesting changes once I arrived at the ASC.
The Center has a very small adjacent parking lot and then a satellite parking lot across the street. The first change I noted was that the crosswalk to get from the lot to the Center now has solar-powered flashers, which come on when the button is depressed by a pedestrian.
I also noted there was a covered picnic area in the grass beyond the satellite parking area. Then I saw a sign the read “Solar Power” with text underneath that I could not read from my car. The next thing to register was that the roofs over the picnic tables were not made of wood – they were all solar panels!
I assumed that this must be part an ASC exhibit and the panels were powering something inside the Center.
When I was able to read the sign, however, I found that the panels were not powering the ASC, but are actually just a part of the Nashville Electric Service power supply. Businesses and individuals can actually sign up for what is called the Green Power Switch. In addition to solar power, they also use a wind turbine and methane gas. According to NES, buying 300-kilowatt-hour blocks of green energy per month (at $4 a block) is the environmental equal of not using your car for 4 months. They even offer a list of who has made the switch, so people in Nashville can help support green businesses.