Six Flags Entertainment Corp., one of the largest theme park and waterpark owners in the world, has broken ground on a new solar carport and energy storage system at its Magic Mountain amusement park in Valencia.
The company, which is based in Arlington, Texas, said the solar power project will offset 100% of Magic Mountain’s energy usage and will be the largest single-site commercial renewable energy project in the state.
Construction on the solar network officially began one day before Six Flags announced it will merge with Cedar Fair LP, owner of Buena Park’s Knotts Berry Farm, in an $8 billion deal.
Six Flags was founded in 1961 and purchased Magic Mountain in 1979. The solar carport will be 637,000-square-feet and contain about 3,544 guests parking spots, with about 30 electric vehicle charging spaces. The 12.37-megawatt carport will produce 20.8 million kilowatt hours of energy annually, equivalent to the energy demand of 2,874 homes.
“We’re thrilled to be breaking ground on this monumental project and taking the next step towards a cleaner, green future,” Jeff Harris, interim park president of Magic Mountain, said in a statement. “We’re continuing to make advancements towards improving and protecting the environment, and are honored to be industry leaders, paving the way for other theme park companies around the world.”
Six Flags is partnering with solar and renewable energy experts at DSD Renewables and Glendale-based Solar Optimum, as well as utility company Southern California Edison and the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.
The carport will be built over the main guest parking lot and team member parking lot. Six Flags said it will be the third solar installation by the company and the largest solar project allocated toward a for-profit organization in the U.S. The company currently has solar installations at its Discovery Kingdom property in Vallejo and its Great Adventure property in Jackson Township, New Jersey.
A Six Flags spokesperson expects the solar project to be completed in the spring and said that its deal with Cedar Fair, which is based in Ohio, is expected to close in the first half of next year. The combined company will operate under Six Flags’ name and will trade under Cedar Fair’s stock name, “FUN,” on the New York Stock Exchange. The combined company will operate 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks and 9 resort properties. No park closures have been announced.
Cedar Fair Chief Executive Richard Zimmerman will serve as chief executive of the new company and Selim Bassoul, Six Flags’ chief executive, will step in as executive chairman of the board.
“The combination of Six Flags and Cedar Fair will redefine our guests’ amusement park experience as we combine the best of both companies,” Bassoul said in a statement. “By combining our operational models and technology platforms, we expect to accelerate our transformation activities and unlock new potential for our parks.”