Locals build solar-powered water attraction park

In a partnership with Reliant Energy, a splash pad — a ground-level water park — powered almost entirely by solar energy will be constructed on 3711 Lyons Ave. in Fifth Ward, about five miles from UH.

“We are donating the splash pad to the neighborhood because we wanted to support its efforts to revitalize this community,” said Reliant spokesperson Pat Hammond. “We really just wanted to demonstrate the possibilities of solar power.”

The park is scheduled to open to the public later this fall and will benefit the surrounding area. Reliant hopes that it will be fully powered by solar energy by next year. However, the solar power is more than just an energy source.

“There will be educational components of the park that will explain how solar power is working,” Hammond said.

“We wanted to give an opportunity to educate the public about the possibilities of solar power. What people don’t realize is that those applications are actually simple and available now.”

The splash pad will be open year-round, and will store energy over the fall and winter when it might not be as widely used. According to the Houston Chronicle, it will be powered and shaded by 18 solar panels.

“(The solar paneling) was one of the offerings by Reliant Energy in terms of sharing and increasing the awareness about the advantages and efficiency of solar panels,” said Kathy Payton, president and CEO of the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation.

“The Reliant Renaissance is translating projects for communities that intend to educate. It brings rare opportunities to our community, and this splash pad is a way to offer a calm and invitational environment.”

Payton hopes that the splash pad will be used by everyone, not just members of the Fifth Ward community.

“It will create a gathering community in terms of multiple generations and a lot of families and students,” Payton said. “(The splash pad will be used by) youth and children, in terms of the math and science department, as well as the splash pad, as well as parents of those kids and people from the community outside of the Fifth Ward.”

In May 2012, UH installed a solar array on top of the Central Power Plant, which brings the solar connection right to the University.

“It will create an information network that will bring people, who are not from the Fifth Ward community, to our neighborhood to see the changes and restoration that is taking place. Hopefully, they’ll want to be a part of that transformation process,” Payton said.

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Edit at 2:32 p.m.: Reliant spokesperson Pat Hammond’s name was adjusted from “Hammon” to “Hammond”

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