Powering education and emergency shelter: New TECO solar array debuts at school

The Lennard High School solar array looks like many other arrays you might have seen...but for students here, it's a brand-new teaching tool.

The Lennard High School solar array looks like many other arrays you might have seen…but for students here, it’s a brand-new teaching tool.

In a sunny development for southern Hillsborough County, Lennard High School is the recipient of Tampa Electric’s latest solar panel array provided through our school photovoltaic (PV) program. This program is a part of the company’s five-year Renewable Energy Systems Initiative designed to further the deployment of solar in the communities we serve.

With the array, the Ruskin, Fla. school has both a unique teaching tool and power for the emergency shelter that Lennard can become if needed. Students will learn about photovoltaics and how overcast weather can affect the output of power from the solar panels. Generating up to 10 kilowatts of renewable energy, the array is a cooperative effort between Tampa Electric and the Florida Solar Energy Center.

The array will provide power to Lennard in the event the school must function as an emergency shelter for the community.

The array will provide power to Lennard in the event the school must function as an emergency shelter for the community.

The Lennard array joins a growing list of Tampa Electric-installed solar installations throughout the community, including at schools and popular attractions like the Florida Aquarium and LEGOLAND. TECO’s biggest array so far, at Tampa International Airport, will generate 2 megawatts of power when completed.

“One of the really exciting things about the solar array at Lennard High School is that we’re branching out to a school in another part of the community we’re proud to serve with reliable electricity,” said Shelly Aubuchon, program manager with Marketing & Program Development with Tampa Electric.

A peek behind the array at some of the metering equipment.

A peek behind the array at some of the metering equipment.

Earl J. Lennard High School currently has nearly 2,000 students. It’s not far from another educational facility in Apollo Beach – Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center, which has a 43-kilowatt solar panel array of its own.

“With the practical benefits in terms of education and emergency shelter power, the Lennard array is another great example of how Tampa Electric is constantly working to be a strong community partner for everyone,” Aubuchon said. “We’re looking ahead and want to help today’s students – tomorrow’s leaders – understand how solar power works and how it will be part of our future.”

 

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