Orange County Convention Center, OUC Flip Switch on Giant Solar Array
Publication Date: 5/20/2009
1-Megawatt Rooftop Array is largest of its kind in the Southeast U.S.
ORLANDO (May 20, 2009) – Orange County Mayor Richard T. Crotty joined Florida State Sen. Lee Constantine, OUC—The Reliable One Board President Katie Porta, U.S. Department of Energy’s John Lushetsky and Orange County Convention Center’s Jerry Daigle at the Orange County Convention Center on Wednesday morning to flip the switch on the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) system in the Southeast United States. The one-megawatt rooftop array was the result of a partnership between Orange County and OUC that was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the State of Florida to install the landmark project. The completion of the solar installation, which the DOE has named a Solar America Showcase, was celebrated during the general session of the Green Cities Florida 2009 conference at the Center.
“I want this project to show the world that Orange County embraces green technology,” Mayor Crotty said. “We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint while recruiting ‘clean tech’ companies that will help the world go green.”
In addition to the grant, OUC contributed $1.5 million to the project and will receive 10 years worth of Renewable Energy Credits in that amount.
“OUC is committed to investing in renewable energy,” Porta said, “and it is collaborations like the one we see here today that will benefit not only our customers but also our Central Florida community for generations to come.”
The PV system, which utilizes high-efficiency, flat-plate collectors, covers about 200,000-square feet of the Convention Center’s North/South building and will generate 1,300 to 1,500 megawatt hours of electricity per year, the equivalent to the power used by 80 to 100 typical homes, and it will do so without producing any greenhouse gas emissions. The benefits of generating electricity with solar energy include reducing energy costs, global warming and dependence on foreign fuels.
“The Center is delighted to be awarded this grant to help expand our green initiatives,” Daigle said. “Over the past three years, our operations personnel have successfully implemented several energy conservation measures; this solar PV project will take us to the next level in energy management, and it is a major step in making our facilities green.”
This $8.8 million multi-purpose project also features a Climate-Change Education Center (CCEC) inside the Convention Center to promote the many environmental and economic benefits of solar and other renewable-energy technologies. Before the flipping of the switch event, Crotty and Porta celebrated the grand opening and ribbon-cutting of the CCEC, which is sponsored by Orange County and OUC.
The OCCC has become an industry leader in environmental best practices, beginning in early 2007 when it became the first convention center in the U.S. to become ISO 14001 Certified for its recycling program.
Other green projects at the Center include purchasing recycled products, using reclaimed water for landscaping irrigation, installing Xeriscape plantings and using Green-Seal certified cleaning products to name a few. In addition to its facility-related green initiatives, the OCCC works closely with event organizers to support their efforts for green events, shows and meetings.
OUC is dedicated to promoting energy and water conservation, alternative and renewable resources, and sustainable building solutions in Central Florida. In fact, OUC’s new administration and customer service center is the Greenest Building in Downtown Orlando and boasts both solar PV and solar thermal rooftop arrays. Designed to meet the requirements for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification, Reliable Plaza features rain water collection for irrigation, efficient lighting and water fixtures, high efficiency windows and recycled materials.
About the Orange County Convention Center
The Orange County Convention Center is the second largest convention facility in the country. Each year, the OCCC brings more than 250 events to the Central Florida area. As a result, roughly 1.4 million attendees contribute approximately $1.9 billion to the area's economic impact annually. For more information about the Orange County Convention Center, visit our Web site at www.occc.net.
About Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC—The Reliable One)
Established in 1923 by a special act of the Florida Legislature, OUC—The Reliable One is the second largest municipal utility in Florida. OUC provides electric and water services to more than 254,000 customers in Orlando, St. Cloud and parts of unincorporated Orange and Osceola counties.
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