Powering the Future

FPL takes an artistic approach to solar energy.

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C.B. Smith Park offers solar trees with charging stations; Photo by Thomas Winter
New kinds of trees are emerging throughout Broward County. Instead of budding with flowers, they’re holding onto something else extraordinary: solar panels. It’s all part of Florida Power & Light Company’s SolarNow, a voluntary program wherein FPL customers can contribute $9 a month toward bringing innovative solar structures to their communities.

The first installation arrived at Young at Art Museum in Davie in the form of a solar parking canopy. Eight installments have followed at local parks, zoos, museums, and community centers, creating living classrooms for people of all ages to learn about solar energy.

Artsy solar installations have popped up at the Museum of Discovery and Science; Photo by Darryl Nobles

“Florida is in the midst of one of the largest solar expansions in the country, led by FPL and our plan to install 30 million solar panels by the year 2030,” says Matt Valle, FPL’s vice president of development. “By integrating solar technology in urban settings, we’re inspiring millions of people to familiarize themselves with the renewable energy source that is playing a big role in how we power our state.”

How it works is simple: The trees’ solar panels draw clean energy from the sun and feed power to the electric grid. Solar energy is economic and environmental; as a renewable energy source, it helps promote cleaner air by reducing fossil-fuel usage and greenhouse-gas emissions.


 

Summer Savers 

Looking to save energy? Here, FPL shares 10 ways to cut down on your carbon footprint and power bill this summer.

1. Set your thermostat to a conservation-minded temperature. Each degree increase can mean up to 5 percent in savings on your monthly cooling costs.

2. Keep doors open. Closed doors can block the airflow of your air conditioner, causing it to work longer.

3. Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms, as well as unused electronics such as lamps, fans, and televisions.

4. Use ceiling fans wisely. When you leave a room, turn off the fan to save from $3 to $7 a month.

5. Turn off bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans when you leave the room or after use. Also remember to close shades, blinds, and drapes.

6. Clean the lint filter in your dryer before every load, not just once it fills up, to minimize drying time.

7. When cooking, use the smallest appliance possible, such as a slow cooker, microwave, or toaster oven. Heating a stove or oven takes quite a bit of energy, plus it heats up the kitchen, causing your AC to work even longer to keep the house comfortable.
8. Meal prep economically. Bake several dishes at a time, using the smallest appliance needed to get the job done. When dinner’s over, make sure to run a full dishwasher to save both water and electricity.

9. Fire up the grill. Using an outdoor grill instead of an oven can help keep your kitchen cool and lower your electric bill.

10. Use free tools from FPL, such as the FPL app and energy analyzer, to help monitor your energy use and budget.

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