The Audubon Park golf course in New Orleans is the latest golf course to switch to solar powered golf carts for its cart fleet. Since Citrus Hills G&CC in Florida became the first golf club to have a solar powered golf cart fleet several others course have discovered the huge savings that golf cart solar charging can bring.
Audubon has spend $455,000 on 77 E-Z-Go electric golf carts that have been fitted with slim-line solar panels on their canopy tops. The solar panels charge the golf cart batteries while golfers play and reduces the amount of time that the carts need to recharge after use. Audubon Director of Golf Stan Stopa estimates that this means a reduction of about 40% in recharging energy costs that translates to around $10,000 per year across their fleet.
"I think anything we can do to get ahead of everybody else and stay ahead of everybody else, we're going to do," Stopa said. "That's what the Audubon Institute does. I think it's the right thing to do. I kind of keep an eye on them it seems like some of the carts, they're charging up in half-an-hour to 45 minutes. That’s a big difference. It's about a two-hour difference. It should save us quite a bit. Beside the fact it's going to save us some money, it’s better for the environment. That's the main thing that Audubon's into."
Carbon-offset is the new buzz-phrase in the energy sector and these solar panels offset around 100 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. The golf carts are being purchases on a four-year, lease-to-purchase agreement. Like any other cart that is in operation in a high-use golf course fleet environment, they’ll last about four years. However, one advantage of the solar panels is that they have a lifetime of 10 years, so can be re-fitted to Audubon's next fleet of cars when the current ones are retired.
Off-Topic Cute Kitten Video Alert!
The Audubon Park Golf Course is part of the Audubon Nature Institute which is dedicated to preserving nature and providing an educational resource to promote nature preservation. Their work also includes helping the survival of endangered species including this cute African Black Footed kitten.