Leon County, Fla. – The Leon County Board of County Commissioners recently announced that it has received a Florida Clean Energy Grant that will provide Leon County with more than $480,000 toward alternative energy enhancements.
The grant, part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will fund energy efficiencies at the County's Cooperative Extension building, located at 615 Paul Russell Road.
“This grant, combined with the existing efforts to convert our Cooperative Extension facility to a green-demonstration building with on-site educational services, represents a significant chance to advance the energy conservation in Leon County and make strides toward our alternative energy goals,” said Chairman John E. Dailey.
The Clean Energy Grant will fund the largest solar photovoltaic (solar
panel) system in Leon County – 60kW – surpassing the current largest known system, which is 50kW. The solar panels are anticipated to be installed as a ground-mounted parking structure, which will provide shaded parking and will also be easily visible for educational tours.
County Administrator Parwez Alam said the final result will be a 'net-zero' energy building, meaning the facility will generate as much energy as it consumes.
“There are only a handful of net-zero buildings throughout the entire Southeast, and we are very proud to join such an elite group,” said Alam. “This is a wonderful example of the Board’s focus on sustainable practices and forward-thinking policies. I am eager to see this project come to fruition and have great expectations for the future of this building.”
In addition to the solar panels, the grant will also fund 17 tons of geothermal closed-loop ground units, a system that uses the ground's relatively constant temperature to more efficiently provide heating, cooling and hot water for the building.
“The geothermal technology will allow for the replacement of a conventional water heater with a heat recovery system,” said Sustainability Manager Maggie Theriot. “Additionally, there will be a live, interactive energy monitoring station for visitors to observe the building's energy consumption and production. For example, as a cloud passes overhead, visitors will be able to watch the actual effects of energy production.”