Duke Energy Florida and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) this week unveiled a new solar battery project that will explore how to store and use energy from the sun. A $1 million grant from Duke Energy is funding the research at USFSP.
As part of the grant, a 100-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system has already been installed on the top of the university’s 5th Avenue South parking garage.
Solar energy that is not used by the garage for lights, elevators and electric-vehicle charging stations is stored in battery systems or put onto the electric grid for immediate use. High-resolution data is being collected on the PV installation and on the energy storage system which is displayed on an online dashboard and several kiosks on campus.
The new larger energy storage system operates in conjunction with two smaller existing USF energy storage systems. This creates an opportunity to build upon existing battery technology while advancing clean energy solutions.
The 100-kW solar array at USF St. Petersburg measures approximately 7,100 square feet, with 318 individual panels. It is a freestanding canopy with space beneath for parking. A solar array of this size can produce enough energy to power an electric car for half a million miles.
— Duke Energy (@DukeEnergy) May 20, 2015
USFSP has an existing 2.0-kW solar energy system located at its Central Facilities Plant that was constructed in partnership with Duke Energy and the USF Tampa School of Engineering. Additionally, a series of solar panels provides power for decorative lights on campus.