Members of the community gathered to celebrate the opening of the Aztec Calendar Pavilion, the first renewable energy education project in El Paso, Texas. | Photo courtesy of the City of El Paso.
With nearly 300 sunny days a year, El Paso, Texas, is an ideal location for solar energy installations, which is why the city recently launched its first Renewable Energy Education Project using solar energy.
Located in downtown El Paso’s Calvary Man Triangle, the project’s centerpiece -- the Aztec Calendar Pavilion -- is a domed-shaped public gathering and performance space made with a combination of steel, concrete, solar panels, light condensers and crystal prisms. It incorporates Aztec designs, paying homage to the civilization’s impressive architectural accomplishments. The pavilion provides four 110V AC solar-powered outlets where visitors can charge their electronic devices using clean solar energy, and excess solar energy will be fed back into the city’s power grid. Visitors to the pavilion will be able to have a unique educational experience -- learning how solar energy works and seeing a real-time digital readout displaying current energy usage statistics.
Growing the local solar PV industry is a key component of the city’s economic development plan. The pavilion’s interactive display helps the community better understand how solar energy is created and its potential for residential and commercial public building owners. A new minor league baseball park will be built adjacent to the pavilion, which will help increase the number of visitors to the pavilion who can learn about the benefits of solar energy.
The city used $250,000 from the Energy Department’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program to complete the pavilion. Last week, the city hosted a ribbon-cutting event in Calvary Man Triangle to showcase the renewable energy education project and highlight the variety of community-wide projects supported by EECBG funds.