A new solar shade structure donated by UniSource Energy Services shelters visitors from the sun while producing enough energy to power fountains at a popular Lake Havasu City splash pad.

A dedication ceremony was held Sept. 3 for a new 18-panel, 6-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) structure at Mesquite Park that was installed in late July. The 21-foot by 16-foot steel structure was installed by Esmay Electric. Energy generated by the panels is used to run the motors for the fountain’s pumps.

The ceremony featured a ribbon-cutting and a plaque presentation as well as cold refreshments provided by UniSource. The company’s mobile solar trailer was also at the event  to help residents learn more about solar energy.  The trailer is equipped with PV panels that power monitors displaying information about solar energy.

UniSource approached Lake Havasu City officials in January about installing the solar shade structure at the park so that the community could see renewable energy in use.

“We’re committed to educating the community about renewable energy,” said Nikole White, Program Manager of Renewable and Demand Side Resources. “Having the solar shade structure in this highly-visible, family-friendly location allows us the opportunity to demonstrate how solar energy is generated and used.”

Located off Main Street near a bustling shopping area, the park features a playground, small lawn area, benches and picnic tables under the structure.

The panels produce enough energy to power the fountains when the splash pad is open from April to October.

Lake Havasu City Parks and Recreation Manager Mike Keane said the solar structure helps offset the city’s costs to operate the splash pad, which saves taxpayers some money.

“We estimate an 80 percent reduction in energy use with an estimated savings of about $1,000 a year,” Keane said. “Parents can cool off in the shade and watch their kids while they play in the splash pad. It’s a great addition to the park.”

Added Lake Havasu City Mayor Cal Sheehy: “We are grateful for UniSource’s donation of the solar shade structure for the park. It’s a great amenity for the citizens of our community to enjoy.”

This is the second solar shade structure that UniSource has donated for a splash pad. A similar structure was installed at the City of Kingman’s Cecil Davis Park in 2017.