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Tampa Electric celebrates Earth Day at local events and through ongoing renewable energy efforts

The company, which has a long history of sustainable business practices, is an industry leader in providing renewable options to its customers.

TAMPA, April 20, 2011

Tampa Electric will celebrate Earth Day 2010 at two local Earth Day events as it continues to offer its customers new renewable energy options.

Tampa Electric will participate in the Sierra Club Florida Tampa Bay Group and University of South Florida Office of Sustainability Earth Day event at the USF Botanical Gardens from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 23. For more information, visit

The company also will participate in the city of Tampa’s Earth Day event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21 at Lykes Gaslight Square Park in downtown Tampa.

“Earth Day is all about stewardship and sustainability,” said Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas President Gordon Gillette. “At both companies, we have been factoring in stewardship and sustainability in our daily activities for a very long time.”

On April 15, Tampa Electric announced that the company was offering $1.5 million in rebates each year for five years to help customers install renewable technologies, such as photovoltaic (PV) solar systems and solar water heating.

In 2010, 60 Tampa Electric customers installed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in their homes and businesses, bringing the total number of interconnected customers to 133.

Of the 133 PV systems currently connected, 110 are installed at residences and 23 at businesses. The systems range from 1.3 kilowatt (kW) to 196 kW. In 2010, these 133 systems delivered more than 339,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of excess electricity to the grid. As a result of bi-directional net metering, the owners of these systems received full retail value from Tampa Electric for that energy.

The 133 systems have a potential to generate over 2 million kWh per year, enough to power 145 homes for one year and offset 1,710 tons of carbon dioxide. The company supports PV systems such as these and provides interconnection to the grid through a special bi-directional net meter installed at no cost to customers. To date, almost 1.3 Megawatts (1,300 kilowatts) of customer-owned PV has been interconnected with Tampa Electric’s grid.

Due to the success of the first year of our new solar rebate program pilot, an additional 500 kilowatts will be interconnected this year with opportunity for the same to be added for the next four years. Visit to find out when reservations will be accepted for the next round of rebates.

A new online solar calculator helps customers estimate how much it would cost to install a system at their home or business. The average residential PV installation is about 5 kW, while the average commercial PV system is about 25 kW. The calculator and details about how customers can install their own PV systems can be found at

Tampa Electric’s solar energy projects will help the company and customers realize greater possibilities for solar power:

  • Tampa Electric’s newest PV display is the Solar Squirter at the Florida Aquarium, an interactive hands-on educational display that opened in February. It includes small PV panels that generate electricity that will let visitors control the operation of several solar-powered fountains by placing their hands over the small solar panels that power the fountains.
  • At Tampa Electric’s Skills Training Center, the company has installed four PV modules, provided by Petra Solar, on top of poles for electric distribution and street lights. The arrays will be the focus of a year-long study to determine if this technology provides a cost-effective option to support future renewable portfolio standards. Over the project’s 12-month period, the company expects the solar modules to offset more than 2,500 kWh of electrical energy normally supplied to the utility grid by Tampa Electric’s power plants.
  • In 2010, Tampa Electric added 16.8 kW of PV on top of eight utility poles at the company’s Manatee Viewing Center. This brings the facility’s total solar capacity to 23.8 kW, the company’s largest. The Education Building at the Center hosts a monitor that displays real-time solar generation data from the site’s arrays, as well as an overview of how the technology works.
  • This summer, in partnership with the University of South Florida and Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa Electric will finalize the second phase of an interactive solar display at the Zoo. The exhibit includes a 15,000-watt solar array, which is incorporated into the Zoo’s elephant exhibit. The goal of the project is to describe to the public the benefits solar can have on our society as well as remote applications, such as in African villages.

Tampa Electric’s new PV installations follow the 18,000-watt array Tampa Electric installed at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa; the 4,000-watt array at Walker Middle School in Odessa; a 7,000-watt array at Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach; and a 10,500-watt array at Middleton High School in Tampa. That’s a total of over 80,000 watts of solar energy in our community.

The Middleton array supports the school’s curriculum and provides supplemental power for the school if it serves as an emergency shelter.

Additionally, the FPSC approved the company’s PV for Schools program, which will install five 10-kilowatt (kW) systems at schools (one school per year over five years) with an emphasis on schools that can function as emergency shelters. The PV technology will provide educational opportunities to teachers and students.

Tampa Electric also 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 produce and distribute 200 kWh of renewable energy. The program uses electricity generated in the state from renewable resources, such as solar and biomass.

Tampa Electric began its Renewable Energy program in late 2000. Since 2000, participants have used more than 41 million kilowatt-hours of electricity generated from renewable sources. This is equivalent to:

  • Producing enough electricity to power almost 3,000 homes for one year
  • Offsetting more than 35,000 tons of carbon dioxide
  • Removing more than 4,400 cars from the road for one year

Customers and organizations also can purchase renewable energy to power one-time events at a convention center, hotel, stadium or other location. Participation in the company’s Renewable Energy program helps technologies that create more energy from renewable sources. Customers can sign up and learn more about the company’s Renewable Energy program at

Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE: TE), an integrated energy-related holding company, with regulated utility businesses, complemented by a family of unregulated businesses. Tampa Electric Company is a regulated utility with both electric and gas divisions (Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System). Other subsidiaries are engaged in coal, and electric generation in Guatemala.

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