Tampa Electric donates solar array to Pasco County school
Company spearheads partnership with Florida Solar Energy Center in effort to advance renewable energy, teach students about sustainability and provide emergency shelter power
TAMPA, December 21, 2011
Tampa Electric and the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, recently completed the installation of a 10-kilowatt solar array at Centennial Middle School in Pasco County. The school, which serves more than 650 students in the Dade City area, was selected as part of FSEC’s SunSmart Schools Emergency Shelter Program.
“This solar array is a tremendous asset to our curriculum and to our community as a whole,” said James Lane, principal of Centennial Middle School. “It’s exciting to think about what this hands-on, interactive teaching tool could mean as a way to reinforce the value of solar energy, and the practical science behind it, for the next generation of residents.”
The installation of this system is part of a $1.5 million investment Tampa Electric will make each year during the next five years to help its customers install renewable technologies. The solar photovoltaic (PV) system at Centennial Middle School is the first system to be installed under this new program. In 2011, Tampa Electric made available more than $1 million in rebates to assist customers with the installation of PV systems at their homes or businesses. An additional $1 million in rebates will be available in 2012.
The PV system at Centennial supplies power to the school during normal operation. It also can operate using backup batteries that were included as part of the installation. If the school loses power due to a storm or other occurrence, the PV system will automatically turn on and supply power to the school building’s critical needs, such as lights.
“The solar array at Centennial represents a milestone for our company on multiple levels,” said Bruce Narzissenfeld, vice president of Marketing, Customer Service, Business Development and Fuels Operations with Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas. “Not only is it the first array we’ve installed that the host facility will own, it also marks our first of five solar installations we will install over the next four years at schools to benefit other communities – as we help students learn about the benefits of sustainability.”
FSEC will collect data from the PV system and display it online for students to use in the classroom. Students will gain a basic understanding of how solar arrays work, improve their skills in science and mathematics, and learn the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Since 1999, Tampa Electric has installed solar arrays generating more than 80 kilowatts in the community, including at schools, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, The Florida Aquarium 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.Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE), an energy-related holding company with regulated utility operations in Florida, including both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System . Tampa Electric serves more than 672,000 customers in West Central Florida. Other subsidiaries include TECO Coal, which owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia, and TECO Guatemala, which is engaged in electric power generation and energy-related businesses in Guatemala.