, a utility company, has started to install trees and solar canopies in all sorts of public places. They have so far installed these solar-harnessing installations in museums and even airports. The main purpose is to gather more sunlight and convert it to usable, green . The initiative has had a lot of success as well, with solar environmentalists praising the new solar canopies and trees.

Solar Trees: What Are They?

In various parts of South , residents have been flabbergasted to see a new species of tree: the . It sounds strange, of course, but these trees are not a myth. They have a height of approximately 24 feet and they are made out of green tubes shaped like a tree. The top of the tree houses solar panels, of course. So far, these “trees” have been placed in zoos, parks, airports and even museums. Truth be told, they can be placed anywhere there is sunlight and a bit of free space.

On several other sites, the utilities company has installed solar canopies designed to look like aluminum rooftops – a contemporary sight in Florida. And they look good. Of course, these solar canopies feature several solar panels on top of them, so they are quite useful as well. Moreover, they provide the shade people need during the hot summer months – anyone who lives in Florida knows it gets brutally hot during the summer!

You would think Florida Power and Light invested its own money into this. However, the reality is that the good people of Florida footed much of the bill. Around 20,000 families are currently voluntarily contributing $9 per month to help install the solar trees and solar canopies. Miami-Dade is home to roughly 8,000 families, Broward to 7,000, and Palm Beach County to approximately 5,000 families. You might be wondering: are these individuals receiving any discounts on their electric bill? The answer is no.

Is It A Solar Panel or Tree? Or Both?

This summer, the International Airport in Palm Beach will start to receive its first solar panels in the form of three trees. They will be placed at the entrance to the airport. In addition, a will soon be installed over one of the parking lots to produce even more energy. In total, all the solar panels around the airport should output roughly 65 KW of energy when sunshine is at its peak. As a side note, a house in Florida uses an average of 1,092 KWH of electricity per month.

The solar canopy which will be placed over the parking lot features 200 latest-generation solar panels. Florida Power and Light is developing many other renewable energy projects around Florida, with the largest being in Naples. The parking lot of the Naples Zoo has recently received a canopy which has 600 solar panels. Also, the Davie Young at Art Museum already has a solar canopy that covers 28 parking places. The solar installation also has two charging stations where electric vehicle owners can charge their cars.

According to Zach Spechler, the Young at Art Museum curator, the solar canopy is ideal for educating visitors about the many benefits of solar energy. In addition, the electricity produced by the panels is being used to power a cloud sculpture exhibit.

Solar is Everywhere!

The Museum of Discovery and Science is also in the course of receiving its solar panels. There will be a total of 99 solar panels that will output 25 KW of solar energy. This project has been funded by a Florida Power and Light grant for educational purposes. The Museum of Discovery and Science has vouched to support the initiative through a solar presentation.

According to Alys Daly, a spokeswoman for Florida Power and Light, FPL currently gets one percent of its electricity from solar sources. This is in line with the average on a national level. However, Florida Power and Light intends to increase this to five percent by the year 2023. In other words, the utilities company plans to increase its solar production capabilities fivefold, which is a very ambitious plan. And environmentalists in Florida love it!

However let’s not forget that many people in Florida still consider Florida Power and Light to be against solar power initiatives. They don’t easily forget the company campaigned in favor of a constitutional amendment that failed back in 2016. This amendment would have allowed the company to impose new fees on solar users who were planning to place the solar panels on their rooftops. The additional costs would have been a burden to people who were looking to save on the cost of their electricity bill while trying to save the environment by using electricity from renewable sources.

According to Alys Daly, Florida Power and Light has been focusing on solar energy for years and it is a very large part of the company’s sustainability efforts. In addition, the spokesperson claims solar energy was a big part of the company’s plans well before the amendment was first proposed. Regardless of the motive for FPL’s support for the constitutional amendment, one thing is clear: at present time, the company is really making serious efforts to increase its solar energy production capabilities. And they are, so far, doing a great job at it. Bottom line, the company deserves our praise, at least for these initiatives!

Continue following solar news to learn about the latest innovative concepts popping up all over the world!

Sources:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-pb-fpl-solar-trees-20180711-story.html

https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Solar-Trees-to-Sprout-in-South-Florida-488278001.html

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