Lawton Chiles Elementary is Second School to receive Free Solar Panels

Tampa Electric and Florida Solar Energy Center install system at New Tampa school

Continuing its effort to help customers install renewable technologies, Tampa Electric has helped to install free solar panels at a second local school.

Lawton Chiles Elementary School in the New Tampa community won the 10-kilowatt solar array from Tampa Electric and the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida. The school, which serves almost 800 students, was selected as part of FSEC’s SunSmart Schools Emergency Shelter Program.

The solar panels are part of a $1.5 million investment Tampa Electric is making each year. Tampa Electric installed a 10-kilowatt solar array at Centennial Middle School in Pasco County in 2011. In October, Tampa Electric made available $1 million in rebates available to assist customers with the installation of photovoltaic (PV) systems at their homes or businesses. Since 2011, Tampa Electric has offered over $3 million in rebates.

The PV system, which was completed in December 2012, will supply power to the school during normal operation, but it also can operate using backup batteries. If the school loses power due to a storm or other event, the PV system will automatically supply power to the school’s critical needs, such as lights.

“Tampa Electric is proud to provide Lawton Chiles Elementary School with the second solar array under our renewable energy systems initiative,” said Bruce Narzissenfeld, vice president of Marketing, Customer Service, Business Development and Fuels Operations with Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas. “Our customers will benefit from our investments in renewable energy, and Lawton Chiles students will learn about the benefits of sustainability.”

FSEC will collect data from the solar panels and display it online for students to use in the classroom. Students will gain a basic understanding of how solar panels work, improve their skills in science and mathematics, and learn the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

“We’re thrilled that Tampa Electric and the Florida Solar Energy Center selected us for this solar energy project,” said Chiles Principal Kim Pietsch. “This is cutting-edge science and technology that our students can experience firsthand every day. The students are as excited about it as the teachers are.”

In addition to this program, Tampa Electric has installed more than 100 kilowatts of solar arrays at six sites in the Tampa Bay area since 1999, including at schools, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and the Museum of Science and Industry. The energy generated by these PV systems helps to serve customers who participate in Tampa Electric’s Renewable Energy program and reduces the need for energy from non-renewable sources.

Tampa Electric offers a Renewable Energy program that makes it easy for customers to purchase a portion of their electricity from renewable sources by signing up for $5 blocks of renewable energy. For each block purchased, Tampa Electric will distribute 200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy. Visit tampaelectric.com/renewable to learn more about the program.

Source: Tampa Electric

For more information on: Tampa Electric