Florida's Emergency Shelters Go Solar
Florida has its fair share of dangerous weather conditions including hurricanes, tornados and floods. Florida legislature passed various laws and made revisions addressing disaster planning which required that the Department of Education, in consultation with school boards and county and state emergency management offices, develop design standards for public shelters to be incorporated into State Requirements for Educational Facilities.
Solar for Schools, a state program, provided funds to put photovoltaic systems on schools that are classified as shelters, adding a new dimension to the educational program. Middleton High School is an example of an application to power the special needs part of a school shelter, as well as provide an educational experience for students, teacher and the surrounding community. During normal school operations, the ten kW photovoltaic (PV) array powers computers and other classroom equipment in one wing of the school. Students learn, not only about photovoltaics and other renewable technologies, but also about disaster preparedness and the importance of durable, energy efficient building design and construction.
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William R. Young, Jr., Susan Schleith (Florida Solar Energy Center)