Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, Implements Renewable Energy Project

The Columbia Museum of Art, located on Main Street in downtown Columbia, SC, implemented a renewable energy project using a recently installed solar panel array on the roof of its building which is reducing the amount of energy the museum has to purchase. The Museum received a $213,500 grant from the Budget and Control Board’s South Carolina Energy Office to fund the 177 solar panels, special installation equipment, 6 electrical inverters and a web based monitoring system. A special educational webpage at ( provides visitors with fun facts, live readings of energy saved, photos and interactive games for kids.

The Solar Panels will:
PRODUCE 10-20% of the Museum’s daily usage
OFFSET 40 tons of carbon every year
SAVE 379 trees per year
GENERATE 53,340 kilowatts per hour

“The South Carolina Energy Office is very excited to be a part of such a great project,” Ashlie Lancaster, director of the energy office, said. “This project demonstrates the value of using solar in a facility that has a lot of visitors. We are glad the Columbia Museum of Art is using this opportunity as an educational tool for the public as well as creating a source for clean energy.”

This scalable project fosters market penetration of renewable energy technology by promoting the benefits of solar power production. As a downtown anchor, the Museum endorses a cleaner, healthier environment by utilizing a renewable resource to reduce and displace its traditional electricity consumption. This is the only solar project of this size in the city of Columbia.

“We are thrilled to be making technological advances that are greatly impacting our environment in a positive way. Additionally, this project allows us to reduce our utility costs and to redirect those resources toward programs that advance our educational mission,” Museum executive director, Karen Brosius, said.

The South Carolina Energy Office (SCEO) provides a broad range of resources designed to help citizens, businesses and public entities save energy and money. In recent years, the SCEO has helped save South Carolina over $250 million through public and private energy-saving measures and new energy technologies. The SCEO is a unit of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board. Additional information can be found at ( These projects are funded through a grant from the Department of Energy under Award Number(s) DE-EE0000158.

The Columbia Museum of Art is South Carolina’s premier international art museum and houses a world-class collection of European and American art. Founded in 1950, the Museum opened its new building on Main Street in 1998 with 25 galleries. The collection includes masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, porcelain and works by significant furniture and silver makers, as well as American, Asian, and modern and contemporary art. In recent years the Museum’s collection of Asian art and Antiquities has grown through generous gifts to the collection. Of particular interest are Sandro Botticelli’s Nativity, Claude Monet’s The Seine at Giverny, Canaletto’s View of the Molo, and art glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The Museum’s newly commissioned Chihuly chandelier is now on view in the Museum’s David Wallace Robinson, Jr. Atrium. The Museum offers changing exhibitions from renowned museums as well as educational programs for all ages that include art classes, art camps, lectures, films and concerts. It is the recipient of a National Art Education Association award for its contributions to arts education and an Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts for outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina. Generous support to the Museum is provided by the City of Columbia, Richland County, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties.

For further information call the Museum at 803/799-2810 or visit (


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