Solar Demonstration Project Planned in Key West
Solar project to support renewable generation development and educate people about energy and the environment
ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 21, 2009 – Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) has formed a partnership with Keys Energy Services and NOAA’s Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to construct a solar demonstration project in Key West.
The 27 kilowatt (AC) solar photovoltaic system will be located at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center in Key West and is scheduled to begin operating in spring 2010. An educational kiosk at the Eco-Discovery Center will provide the public with information about renewable energy and energy conservation. The system will be jointly owned by FMPA and NOAA and operated by Keys Energy Services, the public power utility for the Lower Florida Keys.
FMPA provides all the wholesale power needs of 15 communities, including the Lower Florida Keys, as well as Bushnell, Clewiston, Fort Meade, Fort Pierce, Green Cove Springs, Town of Havana, Jacksonville Beach, Kissimmee, Lake Worth, Leesburg, Newberry, Ocala, Starke and Vero Beach.
“This solar project will enable FMPA’s members to advance the development of renewable generation and help educate the public on their role in creating greener communities,” said FMPA General Manager and CEO Nicholas P. Guarriello. “Solar power is a popular renewable resource in the Sunshine State, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”
“The addition of this solar technology will further demonstrate NOAA’s commitment to resource conservation and provide our visitors a firsthand look at steps they can take to increase energy efficiency in their own homes and businesses,” said Sanctuary Superintendent Sean Morton. “By applying and demonstrating new technology we can inspire others to save energy and help to preserve natural resources, reduce pollution, and enhance energy independence.
“We’re thrilled to be able to bring this solar project to Key West,” said KEYS General Manager and CEO Lynne Tejeda. “This is great opportunity to add green kilowatts to our generation mix and to provide solar education to our residents and visitors.”
Project demonstrates advanced “peel and stick” solar technology
This solar partnership will support the development of renewable generation technologies by demonstrating the use of an advanced solar photovoltaic technology.
The project will use a “peel and stick” solar system, which generates electricity with an innovative thin-film solar panel that is mounted to a rooftop using an adhesive material. The system will be installed by Advanced Green Technologies (AGT) of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. AGT’s FlexLight technology was selected as the best match for the Florida Keys’ unique environmental conditions. Other advantages of the FlexLight system include technology that captures the complete solar spectrum more efficiently, the ability to generate at low light levels, and its flexible and lightweight construction.
The project will cost $235,928, with FMPA’s All-Requirements Project paying 62% and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries paying 38%. Keys Energy Services, through an existing agreement with FMPA, will provide operation and maintenance support for the system.
“Solar power is not currently the least-cost option, but it has a role in a diversified power generation portfolio,” said Guarriello. “This project will benefit FMPA’s members by giving us experience operating solar photovoltaic generation as part of the generation mix.”
Solar technology helps utilities reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Solar generation technology produces no emissions, helping Florida’s municipal electric utilities reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This demonstration project is part of FMPA’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions back to year-2000 levels by 2017.
“This project represents FMPA’s hope for the future that we will generate more electricity with fewer emissions,” said Guarriello.
“Installing the solar array was just one of several action items to fulfill KEYS goal to ‘Reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases while considering the rate impact on KEYS customers,’” said Tejeda.
Interactive kiosk will educate the public about energy and the environment
Educating the public is a key element of this solar partnership. The Eco-Discovery Center will prominently display an interactive kiosk that will provide information about global climate change and renewable generating technologies, as well as the role consumers can play in reducing energy consumption and supporting renewable generation.
“Each of us has a role to play in creating greener communities and a greener world,” said Guarriello. “FMPA’s 15 member communities are proud to do their part in protecting the environment and to spread the word on how we all can help.”
The Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center in Key West features an exciting array of interactive exhibits, dioramas, and displays, including a 2,400 gallon aquarium, all highlighting the rich natural environment of the Florida Keys. The Center is free to the public and a must-see for Keys visitors of all ages.
“Incorporating the kiosk into the Eco-Discovery Center will be a fantastic addition to the educational experience and provide one more way our visitors can learn about ways to protect the environment for future generations,” said Morton.
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Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) is a wholesale power company owned by 30 municipal electric utilities. FMPA provides economies of scale in power generation and related services to support community-owned electric utilities. The members of FMPA serve approximately 2 million Floridians. FMPA’s members include Alachua, Bartow, Blountstown, Bushnell, Chattahoochee, Clewiston, Fort Meade, Fort Pierce, Gainesville, Green Cove Springs, Havana, Homestead, Jacksonville Beach, Key West, Kissimmee, Lake Worth, Lakeland, Leesburg, Moore Haven, Mount Dora, New Smyrna Beach, Newberry, Ocala, Orlando, Quincy, St. Cloud, Starke, Vero Beach, Wauchula and Williston.
Keys Energy Services (KEYS) is the public power utility for Key West and the Lower Florida Keys. Headquartered in Key West, Florida, KEYS provides electricity from Key West to the Seven-Mile Bridge and serves more than 28,000 customers.
Established in 1990, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 2,900 square nautical miles of important marine habitat, including maritime heritage resources, as well as coral reef, hard bottom, seagrass meadows, mangrove communities and sand flats. NOAA and the state of Florida manage the sanctuary.
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.