Thursday, 28 December 2006 00:00
Sunshine EnergyWritten by Mike Kiniry
Florida Power and Light has chosen a Sarasota site to build the Sunshine State’s largest solar array. It’s being paid for by FPL customers participating in what’s called the Sunshine Energy Program.
Under the voluntary program FPL customers agree to pay about 10-dollars more each month toward renewable energy production.
For every 10-thousand customers who sign up, FPL has agreed to build a solar array capable of generating enough electricity to power about 30 homes. This first one – being built at Rothenbach Park in Sarasota – will power nearly 50 households.
David Bates is the Sunshine Energy Program Manager.
“To provide energy for a little less than 50 homes it’s a half a football field, and land is pretty precious in Florida…and this requires a lot of land space in order to provide generation to the customers. Fortunately for this particular case it’s on a landfill so we’re taking advantage of a facility that really wouldn’t be used for something else.”
FPL’s Sunshine Energy Program also buys environmental credits from green energy producers around the state and nation. Buying these credits helps fund renewable energy production elsewhere to help offset pollution created here.
So far about a half a percent of FPL customers have signed up…that means nearly 28-thousand homes. The Rothenbach Park solar array should be up and running by April.
A solar array half the size of a football field will soon be built in Sarasota County. It will generate enough electricity to power nearly 50 homes.
And while that might not sound like a lot, using the sun to generate even that much clean electricity prevents the release of more than 680-thousand pounds of carbon dioxide into the air…each year.
The array is being built as part of Florida Power and Light’s Sunshine Energy Program, under which customers agree to pay about 10-dollars more each month to help pay for renewable energy.
Program Manager - David Bates - says so far about 28-thousand customers have signed up…
“This is offered as a voluntary program because quite honestly not everyone wants to invest in it…not everyone has an environmental purpose. But for those that do and want to invest in the cleaner generation, this is an option that’s available to them.”
For every 10-thousand customers who enroll, FPL will build a solar array capable of generating electricity for about 30 homes. The program also buys clean energy credits from around the country to help offset locally produced pollution.
The array in Sarasota will be built off Bee Ridge road east of I-75. It should be up and running in April. Bates says as more FPL customers sign up to the Sunshine Energy Program more arrays like it will be built around the state.