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04/12/2012 ~ Keys Energy Services (KEYS) recently completed the installation of a 44.8 kilowatt* (kW) solar photovoltaic system at its Stock Island Generation Facility. The solar array is funded in part by a Clean Energy Grant KEYS was awarded from the State of Florida totaling $770,000. The grant was made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the United States Department of Energy.

Construction of the solar array cost $245,504 and KEYS worked with OneWorld Sustainable, Inc. who furnished and installed the system per a competitive bid process. Originally, a 34 kW was slated to be installed, however, the bids came in under the $265,000 grant budget and KEYS was able to obtain approval from the Florida Energy and Climate Commission for increasing the size of the array in order to use more of the allocated funds.

The array is installed on the roof of KEYS’ Purchasing section and materials warehouse which overlooks Safe Harbor in Stock Island. Energy generated from the system will help offset the energy used within the Purchasing section offices and warehouse. The system was not designed with a battery back-up for energy storage.

The system adds to KEYS renewable portfolio, and joins a 26 kW solar array KEYS installed in 2010 on the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, in partnership with the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) and NOAA’s Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and the recently dedicated wind demonstration project at KEYS’ Cudjoe Key Electrical Substation (MM 23, Oceanside). Additionally, the 14 municipal utilities that own FMPA’s All-Requirements Project, which includes KEYS, increased their solar generating capacity by nearly 30-percent as a result of renewable projects other FMPA cities deployed that are similar to those spearheaded by KEYS.

“Partnerships with local customers and federal grant programs have given FMPA’s members unique opportunities to expand our renewable generation in a cost-effective way,” said FMPA General Manager & CEO Nicholas Guarriello.

All KEYS renewable projects have incorporated an educational component so customers are able to view the output of the unit on-demand. “Our customers can log on to to access all of our projects and review their output,” said Lynne Tejeda, KEYS’ General Manager & CEO. Tejeda went on to add that “a small dedication ceremony for the Stock Island Solar Array is planned for Friday, April 27th.”

Additional projects KEYS worked on and which were funded by the grant included:

1) Installing an energy management system to control lighting and cooling at KEYS’ Service Building.

2) Installing two wind turbines at KEYS’ Cudjoe Electrical Substation.

3) Offering $100,000 in rebates to qualifying customers who purchase energy efficient appliances.

4) Providing 225 residential energy surveys over 18-months, which will include the distribution of compact fluorescent light bulbs, low flow showerheads, and faucet aerators.

5) Hosting three workshops for commercial customers to learn how to implement energy efficiency in their businesses.

KEYS had previously identified installing a thermal storage unit at KEYS’ Service Building to shift air conditioning cooling costs during peak hours. However, the quotes for the project came back at double the estimated costs that were included in the grant application and KEYS was unable to complete this project.

Pursuant to the grant, the State will fund approximately $434,000 of the total grant, with KEYS rounding out the difference with matching funds. “KEYS’ staff has worked diligently to implement all facets of the grant and our customers now have an even greener utility which remains committed to its motto of Growing Greener Every Day,” said Tejeda.

*Kilowatt – A unit of electrical power equal to 1,000 watts.

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