Wellfleet Bay Met the Fossil Fuel Free Challenge

Sunflower against solar PV array © Peter Lampke
© Peter Lampke

Wellfleet Bay began its journey into solar and renewable energy in 1996 with a new, passive solar Nature Center building. Beginning in 2005, we installed four solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays; by 2015, we were producing nearly 80% of our electricity.

We have long had a dream of one day producing all of the Nature Center's energy renewably on-site from the sun, and achieving "net zero" in the Nature Center.

That day arrived in January 2019, when we met the Tern Foundation's very generous $60,000 TernSOLAR Matching Challenge Grant, and successfully completed the $175,000 Fossil Fuel Free fundraising campaign.

Through the Fossil Fuel Free project, we:

  • Tern Foundation logo
    Commissioned a full energy audit of the Nature Center 
  • Replaced our aged oil burning furnace with electric "mini-splits" (or air-to-air compressors) that both heat and cool the Nature Center building
  • Installed a new 123 panel solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the Nature Center's roof

The new solar photovoltaic array is operational, and our five solar arrays now produce all of our electricity, heating, and cooling renewably from the sun. The new solar panels are designed to last nearly 30 years, and will continue to provide renewable and sustainable electricity for the Nature Center for the next three decades. We are thrilled to have achieved functional "net zero" for the Nature Center, and to share this news with the 35,000-50,000 people we serve each year. 

Realizing our dream of going fossil fuel free and attaining net zero in the Nature Center has only been possible thanks to Tern Foundation's TernSOLAR Matching Challenge Grant and the generosity of individuals from Wellfleet Bay's community of supporters who were inspired by the project and responded to the TernSOLAR Challenge. 

We hope you will see the new solar array in person, and read more about Wellfleet Bay's journey into renewable energy on a new Learning Station in the Exhibit Hall that highlights Green Building and Renewable Energy topics. 

More Information

To learn more about Fossil Fuel Free and Wellfleet Bay's other 60th Anniversary initiatives and events, contact Julie Towne at 508-694-3609 or by email.