The City of Knoxville’s Parks and Recreation Department will soon be able to offset a portion of power that runs the Cal Johnson Recreation Center with a planned solar array. The new 20.5 kilowatt (kW) array to be installed by Solar Alliance Southeast (SASE) will help the city work toward its goal of improving sustainability throughout the community.
SASE will design and install a system of 48 photovoltaic modules atop the popular recreation center at 507 Hall of Fame Drive. Cal Johnson Recreation Center houses one of the city’s largest community gymnasiums. It also includes a large multipurpose room, fitness center and computer access for visitors. The facility underwent a major renovation in 2020.
“This is one more example of the City of Knoxville embracing the future,” said Harvey Abouelata, SASE’s Vice President for Solar. “Solar will provide lower power cost and add another layer of resilience in our community. Solar, electric vehicle chargers and electric buses are just the tip of the iceberg of all the positive changes in Knoxville.”
Historians have documented Cal Johnson’s life as one of the Southeast’s most successful African- American businessmen. Johnson once owned multiple businesses in downtown Knoxville. The City of Knoxville named Cal Johnson Park for him in 1922 and built Cal Johnson Recreation Center in the late 1950s.