Flower Power Comes to Marietta With Cobb EMC’s New Solar Flower GardenAug 11, 2020
A new and innovative Solar Flower Garden was unveiled on the Cobb EMC Corporate Campus in Marietta, Georgia back in June 2020. The garden contains three Smartflowers and is part of Cobb EMC’s ongoing campus microgrid and sustainability project, Project Solarbe.
Peter Heintzelman, the CEO of Cobb EMC, was the catalyst who brought Smartflower to the member-owned electric co-op’s attention. He had heard about the Smartflower last year and asked his team to do more research into the award-winning product. Months later, Cobb EMC has now installed three Smartflowers in their Solar Flower Garden, owns a mobile fourth Smartflower that can easily be transported to local events, and is also a distributor for Smartflower.
“Our Smartflowers are always a conversation piece,” said Michael Codichini, the Public Relations Director of Cobb EMC, citing its sleek design and its prime location along Highway 41 in Marietta as the main reasons. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the garden to see the Smartflowers in action, all while learning about sustainable energy and Cobb EMC’s renewable energy efforts. “To look at a time-lapse video is impressive, but to actually go out there and stand next to a 17 feet tall solar flower… it is visually substantial. When our visitors see it, they are blown away by the technology… their imagination is peaked,” said Christine Mullinax, the Commercial Industrial Account Manager at Cobb EMC.
The Smartflowers are even getting attention through social media, with many online users sending the co-op messages like “What an impressive solar design”, “The garden looks amazing”, and “These are a great testament to Cobb EMC’s commitment to sustainability!”
The Solar Flower Garden is open not just to Cobb EMC members, but to the larger community as well. The garden is open to the public from dawn to dusk, and tours of the garden are available for members, schools, and the community to learn about the co-op’s sustainability efforts. Larger groups are also encouraged to plan corporate functions or lunch-and-learns in the garden. “The Smartflowers not only educate our community about solar energy, but also allows for our team to observe and research how this innovative technology works for future projects,” said Tim Jarrell, the VP of Power Supply & Planning at Cobb EMC.
When it comes to building a sustainable future, Cobb EMC already has a plan. The three Smartflowers in the garden work together with the rooftop solar found on most of Cobb EMC’s campus buildings to feed their battery storage project and microgrid, all with the goal of reducing their campus carbon footprint. “The Smartflowers are one part of the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future,” said Michael. Future goals on this blueprint include additional utility-based solar, creating a campus microgrid, as well as creating a residential battery program.
“When we look at our Smartflowers, we feel it represents ingenuity and sustainability coming together to better our community and planet,” said Tim. When asked about how the Smartflowers are bringing the co-op and their community together, Christine had this to say: “We hold an immense pride in our Smartflowers… we traditionally put all our energy into reliable electricity and keeping rates low, but now we can also use this investment into new solar technology to make our community stronger.”
Want to book a tour or learn more about Cobb EMC and the Solar Flower Garden? Go to http://cobbemc.com/garden.
Interested in learning more about other Smartflower installations? Click here.