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Duke Energy, USF St. Petersburg to fire up $1 million solar panel system

Published May 19, 2015

Duke Energy Florida announced Monday that it will power up a $1 million solar panel system at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg this week.

The freestanding canopy solar system sits atop the campus' Fifth Avenue S parking garage. It will provide shade for parking spaces while generating electricity from the sun when Duke fires up the system during an event at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Energy produced by the new 100-kilowatt solar system will be stored in new batteries, and data will be collected on the various aspects of the project. The new energy-storage system would operate along with two existing storage systems on the campus.

The solar system, which was funded through Duke Energy's SunSense grant, will gather research to explore the integration of storing solar energy in new battery systems.

Duke Energy said in a statement that the data and research gained from the battery storage aspect of this system will help the utility promote and use the sun to help offset the growing need for electricity in Florida.

For campus, the system will offer an opportunity to manage energy costs while promoting sustainability.