Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tampa Florida Schools To Go Solar

Students at a dozen Tampa Bay area schools and about 100 others across the state will spend this fall harnessing the power of the sun.

The schools will generate solar electricity, about 10 kilowatts of it, or enough to power the average Florida home.

The energy will be used for areas of the schools that serve as emergency shelters. The schools also plan to use the systems as teaching tools for students and to add some electricity — albeit small — to the overall grid.

The Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida developed the program, awarding about 80 schools with the systems through government and utility company money.

Progress Energy announced Wednesday that it was adding 10 primary and secondary schools and one postsecondary school to the list each year beginning this fall through 2014.

In addition to the solar arrays, Progress Energy will provide the schools it equips with batteries to store energy.

Schools will be outfitted with 1,000-square-foot photovoltaic solar arrays. Websites tied to the programs will allow students to analyze data.

The systems cost about $100,000 each to install. That covers the solar panels, installation, connections to the school and the power grid and equipment to analyze data. The panels will save the school some money but the small arrays are more designed for educational purposes.

The average Florida high school spends about a half million dollars on electricity each year, so reducing that cost would help as the economy continues to sputter along.

SOURCE: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/more-tampa-bay-area-schools-to-get-solar-arrays/1187817

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