Fun from the sun at solar-powered amusement park

As the summer season starts to get under way, those who want to have a good time — though not at the expense of the environment and leaving a bigger carbon footprint — can rest easy knowing that Funland in Rehoboth Beach has gone solar!

Coastal Point • Submitted: Funland’s newly-installed roof-top solar array.Coastal Point • Submitted
Funland’s newly-installed roof-top solar array.

Funland contracted with Blue Skies Solar and Wind Power of Wilmington to install 108 solar panels after two of their employees learned a bit about it last year.

“Two of our guys went to a seminar put on by the chamber last spring,” said Bill Henschke, one of the amusement park’s owners. “And they liked it. And the family’s always leaned that way.”

Allen and Don Fasnacht, their wives and their parents bought the park in March of 1962. Extended family still runs the business today. Henschke has been personally involved for 32 years.

Because the project is so new they don’t know yet exactly what their financial return will be, but they are excited at the prospect of generating clean energy. The park has three inverters and a net meter.
Coastal Point • Submitted: Inverters used to covert the DC power from the panels into AC current.Coastal Point • Submitted
Inverters used to covert the DC power from the panels into AC current.

Funland is also in the process of getting on board with GATS, the Generation Attribute Tracking System, which provides information about how megawatt-hours of electricity are generated by the business’ new renewable system and contribute to the regional power supply.

Henschke said that it is an extra benefit they didn’t know about before they started their research. Because a certain percentage of energy has to come from clean sources, places like Funland, which would be in the position of producing more energy in the off-season than they consume, are a perfect fit.

“You go through an application, and once you become a generator, each megawatt is worth a certificate, similar to stocks, and you can sell those tickets to a broker,” explained Henschke.

PJM Environmental Information Services is the owner and administrator of the GATS database. According to their Web site, the GATS database contains information for each individual generation unit. It creates generator-specific electronic certificates that identify them to electricity suppliers to satisfy state policies and to document claims made about “green” power. Data in the GATS include: megawatt-hours produced, emissions data, fuel source, location, state program qualification and ownership of attributes for each megawatt-hour tracked.

Eventually, Funland would like to have sign to let patrons know just how much power they are producing and how much they are eliminating in the way of a carbon footprint.

“We are trying to do our share,” explained Henschke. “Everybody’s pleased.”

Funland, a family amusement center, is located on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware at 6 Delaware Avenue. It features 18 rides, 13 midway games, an arcade and other games. For more information, visit www.funlandrehoboth.com or call (302) 227-1921.