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Ruskin high school receives solar array from utility pilot program

Tampa Electric and Florida Solar Energy Center install photovoltaic (PV) system at Lennard High School

TAMPA, April 14, 2015

Earl J. Lennard High School in Ruskin, Fla., has received a 10-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system from Tampa Electric and the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida. The school, which serves over 1,900 students, was selected as part of FSEC’s SunSmart Schools Emergency Shelter Program.

The PV system is funded through a $1.5 million Tampa Electric pilot program that has installed PV systems at three other West Central Florida schools, including Centennial Middle School in Dade City, Lake Region High School in Eagle Lake and Lawton Chiles Elementary in Tampa. Since the pilot program began in 2011, Tampa Electric has offered more than $4.2 million in rebates to help fund the installation of solar systems.

With installation complete, the PV system is ready to supply power to the school. 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, through backup batteries.

“It’s been a pleasure working with FSEC to install solar systems at schools across our service territory,” said Bruce Narzissenfeld, vice president of Marketing, Customer Service, Business Development and Fuels Operations with Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas. “This marks the fourth system we have installed as part of the pilot project that will come to a close this year.”

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 pleased that Tampa Electric and the Florida Solar Energy Center selected us to receive this solar system,” said Mary Freitas, principal. “Our teachers and students are excited about the opportunity to research and learn more about solar technology.”

In addition to this program, Tampa Electric has installed more than 135 kilowatts of PV at seven sites across West Central Florida since 1999, including at schools, LEGOLAND Florida, 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.

Late last year, Tampa Electric announced it will own and install a 2-megawatt PV system at Tampa International Airport. The company will own the system and the electricity will be fed into the grid so that all 700,000 customers – including the airport – will benefit. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2015 and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

For more information on Tampa Electric’s renewable energy initiatives or to participate in the Renewable Energy program, visit

Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, is part of the TECO Energy family of companies. Tampa Electric serves more than 700,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE) is an energy-related holding company with regulated electric and gas utilities in Florida and New Mexico: Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas System and New Mexico Gas Co. Other TECO Energy subsidiaries include TECO Coal, which owns and operates coal-production facilities in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

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