Two county schools to get solar, battery backup power from Progress Energy

Two Citrus County schools, that also serve as emergency shelters, will get free solar installations and battery backup systems, thanks to a grant from Progress Energy, Florida.

Citrus High School in Inverness and Citrus Springs Middle School are among a handful of the state's public schools to participate in the utility's SunSense Schools program. Progress is a subsidiary of Duke Energy.

The solar energy program, which provides no-cost solar installations for up to 10 public schools and one post-secondary institution in Progress Energy Florida’s service territory per year through 2014. Each participating school will receive a 10-kilowatt (kW) solar installation with battery backup.

"The SunSense Schools program helps bridge our goal of increasing renewable energy education and adoption with our desire to provide customers the electricity they want and need in all weather conditions," said Vincent Dolan, Duke Energy state president -- Florida. "While we work to make critical resources available to a growing number of the state’s emergency shelters, we’re hopeful some of the bright, young minds exposed to solar energy through our SunSense® program will be inspired to become the innovators who determine how Florida’s electricity needs will be met for decades to come."

The selected schools applied to participate in the utility’s program earlier this year. Participants were chosen based on key categories such as their commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy education, a location that maximizes geographic distribution throughout Progress Energy’s service territory, the number of students and the school’s shelter capacity.

The 2012 SunSense Schools program participants are:

  • Branford Elementary School, Branford, Suwannee County
  • Chasco Elementary School, Port Richey, Pasco County
  • Citrus high School, Inverness, Citrus County
  • Citrus Springs Middle School, Citrus Springs, Citrus County
  • Davenport School of the Arts, Davenport, Polk County
  • DeBary Elementary School, DeBary, Volusia County
  • High Springs Community School, High Springs, Alachua County
  • Palm Harbor Middle School, Palm Harbor, Pinellas County
  • Sanderlin Middle School, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County
  • River Springs Middle School, Orange City, Volusia County

More information about the SunSense program and details on how schools can apply is available at progress-energy.com/sunsense.

To date, Progress Energy has installed solar arrays on and provided associated educational materials to 28 Florida schools through SunSense® Schools and its predecessor programs.

The focus on schools serving as emergency shelters was part of a 2011 expansion to the utility’s SunSense® program. Other program components include incentives toward residential and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, Solar Water Heating with EnergyWise, and Solar Water Heating for Affordable Housing. The expanded solar offerings will be in place through 2014.

Alternative energy technologies, such as those included in the SunSense program – combined with energy efficiency and state-of-the-art plants – collectively form the balanced solution strategy Progress Energy believes is necessary to best meet its customers’ short- and long-term energy needs.

More information about Progress Energy Florida can be found at www.progress-energy.com.