For Immediate Release


Contact: Kenneth Sheinkopf
1679 Clearlake Road
Cocoa, FL 32922-5703
Phone: (321) 638-1007
FAX: (321) 638-1010
FSEC Honored with Innovation Award for SunSmart Schools Program
The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has been honored by the Interstate 
Renewable Energy Council (IREC) with one of their 2005 Innovation Awards.  The 
award was presented to the center for serving as project lead on "Florida's 
SunSmart Schools Program," a partnership with the Department of Environmental 
Protection/Florida Energy Office (DEP), the state's electric utilities and the 
solar industry.

FSEC administered the activities that installed solar electric systems in several 
educational institutes in Florida, including K-12 public and private schools, 
vocational institutes and universities. 

This pilot program was funded from Florida DEP with $600,000 used to subsidize the 
installation of 29 systems throughout the state.  Many of the schools teamed up 
with their local electric utility or organizations within the local community to 
raise the additional funds for their systems.  Sponsoring utilities included 
Progress Energy, Gulf Power, Tampa Electric, Florida Power and Light, JEA, City of 
Tallahassee, Utilities Commission of New Smyrna Beach and Gainesville Regional 

FSEC also provided students and teachers with an educational activity kit, web-
based learning activities and lesson plans that correlate with state science and 
mathematics educational standards. FSEC's education staff coordinated regional 
teacher training workshops throughout the state to provide support to educators 
utilizing the kit materials and website as part of their teaching curriculum.

As a result, thousands of Florida students and teachers are learning about solar 
energy's role in meeting some of the state's electricity demand, promoting local 
economic development and helping provide a clean environment and energy security 
for the future.

A few of the PV sites also serve as storm shelters. These sites have been equipped 
with interpretive signage to increase awareness of the benefits and uses of solar 
energy.  Solar power can take on vital importance if normal electricity service 
becomes unavailable. In the event of a local emergency, the system will generate 
electricity produced by the solar system which is diverted to the school to 
operate lighting and other necessities. During normal conditions, the renewable 
energy produced by the PV system is distributed to the company's grid.

For more information, contact Jennifer Szaro at 321-638-1427 or

The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central 
Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research center in 
the country.  Current research activities include solar water and pool heating, 
solar electric and distributed generation systems, energy-efficient buildings, 
alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel, fuel cells and other energy 
areas.  For more information about the center, visit or call the 
FSEC Public Affairs Office at (321) 638-1015.