Sunshine State Awards $8.5M for Solar Power to Florida Gulf Coast University

NWF   |   May 19, 2008

It’s not often that a state’s motto so appropriately fits the actions of its Congress: the Sunshine State of Florida recently passed a bill which allocates $8.5 million to Florida Gulf Coast University for the construction of 16 acres of solar panels. Several other Florida schools were also awarded funding, but the FGCU installation will dwarf them, producing 2 megawatts per day if the school is able to secure additional private donations. If all goes as planned, the university expects to power the entire campus with solar energy, saving $22 million in utility bills over the next 30 years.

To date, the largest university solar installations are at Fresno State (1.1 megawatts) and University of California–Irvine (1.2 megawatts), both of which will be surpassed by FGCU’s. As a signatory of the AUCPCC, the university has an established Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education which provides lectures and other environmental education opportunities.

While the bill still requires the Governor’s signature, he is expected to sign very soon, and school officials are already looking to begin bid requests this summer, with an eye towards bringing the system online summer 2009. We’re very eager to see how the installation develops, especially given the success of solar energy in other parts of the state.

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