Florida has awarded US$10m from American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) grants to the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa Beach. Known as the SunSmart School and E-Shelters (Emergency Shelters) programme, the grant is part of the US$126m received by the state in State Energy Program funding for energy-related initiatives under ARRA.
The solar systems provide electricity during power outages at schools and shelters where the programme is administered. 90 schools selected to serve as emergency shelters will be supported, and strategically-located schools will also install battery backup capacity for their solar PV panels.
Data loggers will be installed at each solar system to upload system information. The programme will also include operation and maintenance workshops for facility managers and energy curriculum workshops for teachers.
The State Energy Program provides opportunities for state agencies, local governments and companies to deploy renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies. It advances the use of renewable energy through the installation of solar energy systems, and supports solar energy education initiatives for students and renewable energy curriculum training for teachers.