Solar in the Sunshine State

Florida enjoys 2927 sunny hours per year. Arizona, California, Colorado, and Hawaii may have slightly higher sunshine percentages, but Florida, soaks up the solar 66% of the time, before and after common summer thundershowers.

Florida solar installations pay for themselves in about seven years, then provide fifteen or more years of free energy. No surprise, then, that solar farms and other commercial installations are in development statewide.

Disney Solar Project

The highest-profile… certainly the most familiar profile… for a solar farm is a recent addition to the Walt Disney World Resort. The installation is easily visible to Disney guests as they drive toward the Magic Kingdom. From ground level, the hidden Mickey profile is less obvious than from an airborne perspective.

Disney and Duke Energy collaborated to build the 22-acre solar farm just east and south of the Epcot exit on World Drive. 48,000 solar panels bring sunshine power to Disney Springs area hotels and to the Four Seasons Resort, near Fort Wilderness.

Statewide solar farms

Florida Power and Light (FPL) has committed to solar centers in seven counties. By early 2018, those centers will install a total of more than 2.5 million solar panels.

Alachua County
  • Horizon Solar Energy Center
    74.5 Mw
Brevard County
  • Barefoot Bay Solar Energy Center
    Scheduled to open in March 2018
DeSoto County
  • Wildflower Solar Energy Center
    Scheduled to open in December 2017
Hendry County
  • Hammock Bay Solar Energy Center
    Scheduled to open in March 2018
Indian River County
  • Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center
    Scheduled to open in March 2018
  • Indian River Solar Energy Center
    Scheduled to open in December 2017
Putnam County
  • Coral Farms Solar Energy Center
    74.5 Mw
    Scheduled to open in December 2017
St. Lucie County
  • Loggerhead Solar Energy Center
    Scheduled to open in March 2018

Solar trees

Solar energy now grows on trees. They look good, cast a little shade, and generate power wherever they are installed. The Sanford City Commissioners recently purchased three of them to place amongst the natural flora at Ft. Mellon Park.

Looking ahead, the Solar Energy Industries Association offers some encouraging facts about the Florida Solar Industry.

  • 8,260 solar jobs (ranked 5th in the nation)
  • 492 solar companies
  • $523.64 million invested in solar (in 2016)
  • 64% decline in price over the past 5 years
  • 2,559 MW growth is projected over next 5 years

There’s no doubt that Sunshine State has more solar in store!

Alexa Stone
LEED AP, Sustainable Facility Professional, Envision Sustainability Professional - - Alexa has more than 25 years of experience in sustainable and Smart Cities development. Her strategic planning work has served local, state, and federal government, higher education, and private industry. Alexa founded ecoPreserve in 2009 as a team of 3 and has grown the company to over a dozen of the brightest sustainability and project management professionals in the industry.
Alexa Stone

@ecopreserve

We empower organizations to reduce environmental impact, improve efficiency, and improve quality of life.
https://t.co/DpdVXaSnU6 #RESILIENCY This Workplace Wellness Minute video describes List N of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). - 1 month ago
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Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

  • PHYSICAL CONDITION
    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPREAD POTENTIAL
  • OPPORTUNITIES
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
  • ORDER OF MAGNITUDE RENOVATION BUDGET
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC EQUIPMENT
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
  • FLOORPLAN
    • Traffic patterns
  • FURNISHINGS
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
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AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.