Recently, together with Pennsylvania energy solutions provider UGI Performance Solutions, we announced plans for a 473.7 kW solar array at the Sandy Spring Friends School (SSFS). Usually when we talk about our installations, we focus on what the system will power. At SSFS however, what is exceptionally notable is not what the system will power, but what it won’t. Just a few feet from where the 2000+ panels will ultimately be installed lies SSFS’ Adventure Park. This aerial forest adventure park is the largest of its kind in North America and is essentially an obstacle course in the trees, consisting of platforms installed in trees and connected by various configurations of cable, wood, rope and zip lines to form bridges and ladders one to four stories up in the sky!

We went to check out the site recently where the footprint of the panels is already staked out. We were overwhelmed by the cheers, laughter, screams of thrill and the roaring sound of the cables as people took advantage of all the park had to offer, and the multitude of families picnicking and enjoying nature and the great outdoors. Energized by all of the excited “climbers,” we just had to join in. We geared up in our harnesses, participated in a safety briefing, learned how to click our carabiner into the tweezle (if you don’t know what a tweezle is you will after your safety briefing) and were off! We only made it through a few of the (beginner) thirteen courses, but we had a blast, and were amazed at the daring few who braved the double black course – 50 feet up in the treetops!

We also discovered what the two have in common – energy! The Adventure Park creates so much kinetic energy and adrenaline, while the more passive solar array will soak up the energy of the sun and convert it to electricity. With the innovative spirit at SFSS, we wouldn’t be surprised if they one day figured out how to harness both!

So if you are seeking an exciting outdoor adventure this summer in the truest sense of being green, we urge you to unplug! Visit the SSFS Adventure Park, check out the future site of the SSFS’s solar array and take in an interesting juxtaposition between the promise and potential of renewable energy against some good old-fashioned, active, unplugged fun.