|Commission Chair Akinyemi, Commissioner Dozier, Rep Williams and Extension Staff|
|Will Sheftall, Leon County Extension Staff|
|Close-up Solar Panel and mini-inverters|
| Solar array at Leon County Extension Center |
All Photos by Green Tallahassee
Staff obtain a computer read-out from each of the individual solar panels so that each panel's performance can be measured over time and so that if one panel is not working, it does not affect the entire system. Some of the panels are shaded by trees, which was intentional. With the ability to monitor the performance of each individual panel, data can be collected about the energy generated under differing conditions including shade, time of day, time of year, weather conditions, etc.
The read-out can be summarized to show an estimate of the carbon offset by the system. Installed in mid-March and running as a beta project until today, data shows that the months of March, April and May resulted in more energy being generated by the solar array than was used. With the hotter summer months, the system is not generating all of the electricity needs. However, over an annualized period, the amount of energy generated will meet or exceed energy usage. The system's savings estimates are based upon the City of Tallahassee Utilities' 'General Service Demand' rate for commercial customers. Extension staff indicated that the utility bill for August was $5.00, excluding the net peak demand cost that is charged to commercial buildings.
Each solar panel contains its own inverter (pictured above) that converts DC power into AC, making the system more efficient as it sends usable AC current directly into the building.
The closed loop geo-thermal system has reduced the cost of cooling and heating the building by 40% and is integrated with an energy recovery hot water heater. The system transfers water from underground where the temperature is between 68 and 70 degrees year round. When the system is cooling, warmer water is circulated away from the building, transferring the heat into the earth into the well field at the back of the Extension property. When the system is heating, cooler water is circulated away from the building and absorbs heat from the ground before being recirculated back into the building. (A second heat exchange takes place in the building's mechanical room.) In addition, the building's conventional electric water heater was modified to recover the geothermal waste heat.
The Leon County Extension Center, located at 615 Paul Russell Road in Tallahassee, is an education facility and is open to the public for tours, educational classes and technical assistance.
Leon County has committed to completing energy efficient projects including the new Eastside Branch Library which is a LEED certified energy efficient building.