San Diego Humane Society Adoptions Center Grand Re-Opening

A solar array covers a dog play area. There are a few small enclosures where dogs and cats can be seen outside by prospective dog adopters.

We were excited and honored to be a part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the renovation of the San Diego Humane Society’s Adoptions Center at its San Diego Campus. The facility was completely renovated to better serve the well-being of the animals and also provide a better experience to people visiting the facility for pet adoptions. 

The transformation of the facility, which commenced on May 9, 2022, included an HES Renewables carport-style solar system. The 60 kW solar system was built as a free-standing, carport-style structure made up of 120 solar panels. In addition to providing a daily benefit to the animals by creating a wonderful, shaded agility area, the commercial solar system has an expected payback period of only 7.2 years. Over 25 years, the system will provide the facility an estimated $1,132,930 in total electric bill savings. 

Four people, including San Diego mayor Todd Gloria, cut a ribbon in from of some archways at a building entrance.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 13, 2024. Shortly after, as he and other guests toured the new building’s offerings, we had the opportunity to ask him about the importance of solar power. 

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria stands behind a lectern and address a crowd.

“The city has an ambitious climate action plan that envisions transferring to 100% renewable energy by the year 2035,” said Todd Gloria, Mayor of San Diego. “We can’t do it without the solar community helping to take existing buildings like this one here at the San Diego Humane Society and making sure it runs on clean solar energy. So this project today is a way that we’re helping to actually achieve our climate goals while at the same time reducing costs for non-profit organizations like the Humane Society. This organization does powerful work, and the more of those resources that they can put towards caring for animals, that they don’t have to put towards energy, is incredible. So this is a multi-faceted win for not just the Humane Society but for San Diego.”

People walk around inside the new San Diego Humane Society Adoption Center

The facility itself now provides new dog kennels that are designed to help the dogs feel more secure; one detail is that the kennels are angled so no dog has a view of another while in the kennels. The cat adoption area has 11 communal cat rooms and a play area, called a cat aquarium, that can house several cats. The capacity of the facility includes 58 dog rooms, 55 cat kennels, 11 communal cat rooms and the cat aquarium. There are also 53 ‘small pet’ living spaces in a separated area, isolated to reduce stress to the small animals as well as improve viewing for prospective pet owners looking for an animal to adopt.  

A dog play area of Astroturf gets shade from a solar array build atop girders.

Another great aspect of the facility, and the one the HES Renewables solar system is most-directly tied to, is the new dog agility yard. This area provides a large, shaded yard for the animals, and prospective adopters, to play and exercise. There are also ‘catios’ for the cats to get outside and take in additional mental stimulation. 

The facility has sound-proofing as well as pink noise. Also, drainage has been improved to make cleaning more efficient and free up San Diego Humane Society workers to be able to give more attention to the various adoptable animals. 

San Diego building with a commercial solar carport over the yard area in the back. There are animal outdoor areas near the solar panels and around the other side of the building.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the impact of the 120 solar panels that were installed by HES Renewables to conserve energy and reduce costs,” said Jane Elliot-Hughes, Sr. Director, Support Services at San Diego Humane Society. “Beyond their primary function of supplying energy, these panels will have the added benefit of providing shade to our animals, staff and volunteers who are enjoying our new outdoor agility yards.”

“Of all the projects we’ve installed recently, large or small, I think this is one of my favorites!” said Ross Williams, President and CEO of HES Renewables. “On any given day there are no less than two dogs at the office, so pets are a large part of our culture. We were honored to partner with the SD Humane Society on this project and are so excited for them to enjoy decades of clean on-site energy that also provides valuable shade!”

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to partner with the San Diego Humane Society,” said Wenjie Chen, Vice President of HES Renewables. “It’s wonderful to be a part of both helping the organization realize its goals through solar so they can reinvest back into caring for the animals, as well as moving the city of San Diego forward in their energy goal commitments. It’s a win-win. HES Renewables is a part of the San Diego community and we are here to continue to partner together with more businesses and organizations to improve their bottom line and also make our community better for the future.”

“This marks a new era for San Diego’s homeless animals,” said Dr. Gary Weitzman, President and CEO, San Diego Humane Society. “Our renovated Adoptions Center represents a significant leap in animal welfare and will provide a better experience for countless pets in need. We believe these new habitats will increase visibility and result in shorter stays for our shelter residents, paving the way for brighter futures.”

Dr. Gary Weitzman speaks at a lectern

Like any business or non-profit, money diverted from utility energy bills can be reinvested into the organization’s growth, capacity, or reach. HES Renewables is proud to be a part of the San Diego Humane Society’s renovation, and especially happy to deliver a project that will bring long-term benefits to the organization and to the animals and people that it serves. 

If you’re interested to learn what an HES Renewables solar or energy storage system can do for your business’ bottom line, please click to fill out this contact form or call us at 866-HES-RNEW. 

If you’re considering adopting a pet that is in need of a new home, please visit the San Diego Humane Society Adoptions Center at 5500 Gaines Street, San Diego, 92110 between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday. There are also Humane Society locations in Escondido, El Cajon, and Oceanside. To learn more, and see animals that are currently available for adoption, please visit

Puppy chocolate lab look off to one side.

And as a final note to this story, one of our HES Renewables employees, who worked on the construction of the solar system, wound up with a chocolate lab puppy named Riley two weeks prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony. His wife saw that the Humane Society website had puppies available and got Riley as a surprise for him… without realizing he was a part of the solar build at the exact location where she was adopting the dog. In her new home, Riley (seen above at the HES Renewables office) joins another dog who was also adopted from the SD Humane Society Adoption Center six years ago.


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We are a San Diego-based solar energy production and energy storage installation company. We have been an energy innovator since 2001 and can handle projects from solar-only arrays to micro-grid solar and storage systems with on-site EV charging stations. 

If you’re looking into the benefits of on-site energy production, energy storage, or EV Charging capability, we’d love to speak with you. We’ll show you how to lower and stabilize energy costs, receive the maximum incentives, open new revenue streams, and gain control over one of the largest expenses of your business or commercial property. 

Click here to be contacted by an HES Renewables representative, or simply dial us at 866-HES-RNEW (866-437-7639).

Robert Laverty

Senior Energy Consultant, Residential

Robert Laverty joined the HES team in the summer of 2018, bringing his ten years of solar design experience and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound with him. Robert is dedicated to finding solutions to help families produce and store electricity in order to reduce their reliance on grid power as well as help reduce their household’s carbon footprint. Robert’s experience as a newspaper editor as well as his involvement with the sustainability-focused Rocky Mountain Institute drives him to constantly seek out innovative ways to meet energy needs through renewable resources as well as helps him share those ideas with Southern California homeowners. When not at work or volunteering time with his church or community, Robert spends time with his wife and two sons or pursues his passion of fly fishing.

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