Hillsborough County Courthouse Installs Solar Panels, Downtown Tampa

The Hillsborough County courthouse is going solar.

Two hundred solar panels were recently delivered to the roof of the courthouse at 419 Pierce St. in downtown Tampa. The panels will supply 40 to 60 percent of the building's energy load and save more than 322,000 kilowatt/hour hours in power. This translates to more than $60,000 in annual energy savings and a 262.5-ton reduction in CO2 emissions.

The installation is part of a large alternative energy project Hillsborough County adopted last year, which has been funded by a federal stimulus grant. Each panel is 18 feet long, 15 inches wide and 4 millimeters thick. The panels together will cover 40,000 square feet of the courthouse roof and are expected to be installed and working by the end of this August.

The project is one of the larger of its kind  in the country to date and the largest for a downtown metropolitan area. Other projects in the Tampa Bay area include a solar photovoltaic system on the Tax Collector building on Falkenburg Road, the roof of the gymnasium at the All People's Life Center, energy-saving lighting for both the Orient Road Jail and the country warehouse buildings on Falkenburg Road, as well as other projects.

The federal government set aside $2.7 billion for Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants through the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program is designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions by governments around the nation. Courthouse Solar Photovoltaic Project received $7,665,200 this past year.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Randy Klindworth, Hillsborough County

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