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SARASOTA, Florida — February 12, 2008 — Governor Charlie Crist today joined Florida Power & Light (FPL) president Armando Olivera for a dedication ceremony of FPL’s Sunshine Energy Solar Array at Rothenbach Park in Sarasota County. Also in attendance were Secretary Mike Sole of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Senator Mike Bennett, local Sarasota County government officials and leaders in the environmental community.
“I am thankful for the leadership of the Sarasota County government and Florida Power and Light in partnering to provide alternative methods of powering our homes and businesses,” Governor Crist said. “The economic future of our state is linked to our maintaining its natural beauty, and this solar power facility is an excellent example that other communities can work to achieve.”
Earlier in the day, Governor Crist joined Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink at the Governor’s Luncheon at the Florida State Fair in Tampa. Governor Crist praised Commissioner Bronson for his leadership in encouraging Florida’s agribusiness to participate in research and development important to the increased use of renewable energy such as ethanol.
The array, the largest solar power facility in Florida and the second-largest in the Southeast, consists of 1,200 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. These panels convert sunlight into electricity, producing 250 kilowatts of clean energy, enough energy to power approximately 55 average homes. Using solar power will prevent the release of more than 654,000 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. The PV panels, mounted at ground level, cover more than 28,000 square feet, or about half the size of a football field.
Construction of the array was made possible by FPL’s Sunshine Energy program, a voluntary green power program offered as a choice for FPL residential and commercial customers who want to support cleaner, renewable electric generation. Since Sunshine Energy’s inception in 2004, more than 37,000 FPL residential and business customers have enrolled in the program, which has prevented 756 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. That is comparable to removing 67,000 cars from the road today.
“We have a responsibility to ourselves and to future generations to take steps that will conserve our state’s precious resources and ecosystem,” said Armando Olivera. “We thank Governor Crist for his leadership on climate change and development of renewable power and we thank our customers for making the promise of Sunshine Energy a reality.”
Sarasota County donated the land for the solar array as part of the county’s own mission to support and promote sustainability efforts in the region. Future plans for the park include walking trails and a nature center. The solar project was developed for FPL by MMA Renewable Ventures with financial support by Green Mountain Energy Company. The PV panels were manufactured by SunPower Corporation. The solar array was installed by Sunbelt Electric of Sarasota.
“Our partnership with FPL has helped us to further our own sustainability goals for the region," said Sarasota County Commission Chair Shannon Staub. "Sustainability initiatives continue to take root and grow across the county as we implement new internal processes and engage the community to build their own sustainability programs."
For more information about the FPL Sunshine Energy Solar Array at Rothenbach Park or to learn how to participate in FPL’s Sunshine Energy program, visit www.fpl.com. For more information about Governor Crist’s initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, please visit www.flgov.com.
Florida Power & Light Company is the principal subsidiary of FPL Group Inc. nationally known as a high quality, efficient and customer-driven organization focused on energy-related products and services. With annual revenues of nearly $16 billion and a growing presence in 26 states, FPL Group is widely recognized as one of the country's premier power companies. Florida Power & Light Company serves 4.4 million customer accounts in Florida. FPL Energy, LLC, FPL Group's competitive energy subsidiary is a leader in producing electricity from clean and renewable fuels. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.FPL.com, www.FPLGroup.com and www.FPLEnergy.com
About Rothenbach Park
Rothenbach Park is located at the east end of Bee Ridge Road approximately three miles east of Interstate 75. The site is located on a former landfill that was closed in 1998. The park is part of the High Point Complex which includes Animal Services’ animal shelter, the Chemical Collection Center, and Public Works facility operations center.
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