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World’s Second Largest Amusement Park Goes Solar

Six Flags Great Adventure’s award-winning rollercoasters, El Toro (foreground) and Kingda Ka (back). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia user Paulm27.

Six Flags Great Adventure’s award-winning rollercoasters, El Toro (foreground) and Kingda Ka (back). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia user Paulm27.

By Chris Gillespie

Soon Superman won’t be the only one getting his power from the sun at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.

In a recent press release, Six Flags Great Adventure announced that the park is set be powered by a 23.5MW solar development. The project, which is expected to be finished in 2019, will include 40 acres of ground-mounted solar panels as well as solar carports over certain parking lots. Great Adventure is the second largest amusement park in the world and welcomes approximately 3 million guests a year.

“This is a proud day for our company,” said Six Flags Great Adventure Park President John Winkler. “This project represents a giant step toward becoming a net-zero facility.”

The development will be built by KDC Solar, a New Jersey-based company which has over ten years of experience in building large scale net-metered facilities for commercial, industrial and institutional customers in the mid-Atlantic region.

“We are pleased to move forward with this groundbreaking solar project,” said KDC Solar president and CEO Alan Epstein. “Six Flags has been a patient and cooperative partner throughout this process, and we look forward to delivering clean, renewable electricity to Six Flags.”

Epstein adds that, once the Six Flags development becomes operational, it will be the largest net-metered solar project in New Jersey. According to both companies, the solar development will also make Six Flags Great Adventure the world’s first solar-powered theme park.

Six Flags Great Adventure is no stranger to accolades. Since opening in 1974, Great Adventure has been recognized on a regular basis for its assortment of outstanding rollercoasters. The Kingda Ka steel coaster is the tallest and the second fastest rollercoaster in the world, reaching a height of 456 feet and top speeds of 128 mph (it was the fastest from 2005 until 2010, when it was surpassed by Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi). Most recently, the El Toro wooden rollercoaster won the 2017 Golden Ticket Award for World’s Best Wooden Rollercoaster.

It appears that Great Adventure’s solar plans are the
only significant sustainability
news coming from
the Six Flags parks, both in the northeast and beyond. 

Conservation and environmentalism are also not new to Six Flags Great Adventure either, as they are the key focuses of its adjoining Wild Safari Park. According to the Six Flags website, the mission of Wild Safari Park is “to immerse our guests with an entertaining, fun and unique educational experience that will inspire all ages to conserve and protect our precious animal resources.” At Wild Safari Park, guests can go on an immersive open-air safari ride to see over 70 species of animals, including lions, giraffes and rhinos, as well as some species that are extinct in the wild. Guests can also stop by the Camp Aventura area in the middle of the safari to visit newborn animals and to have an opportunity to feed giraffes.

Winkler himself suggests that the 23.5MW solar development may only be the beginning of Six Flags Great Adventure’s utilization of solar and other forms of renewable energy, saying, “Clean energy is right for the environment and our future, and we look forward to decades of environmental stewardship with KDC Solar.”

Although Superman, Wonder Woman and the other members of the Justice League who are often seen at Six Flags parks could not be reached for comment, we suspect that they would be quite proud of Great Adventure and KDC Solar for doing their part to save the world.

Chris Gillespie is a contributing writer for Green Energy Times. He can be reached at chris@greenenergytimes.org.

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