News & Announcements

OUC, Orlando Science Center Look to Sun for Renewable Energy

Jun 17, 2010

AZUR Solar Installs High-Tech Panel to Generate a Powerful Experience

ORLANDO – OUC—The Reliable One Board President Katie Porta joined Orlando Science Center President and CEO Jo Ann Newman and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer on Wednesday morning to unveil the Science Center’s new 31-kilowatt (kW) solar array atop the Dr. Phillips CineDome and other green features. The photovoltaic (PV) system, which is the result of an educational partnership between OUC, the Science Center and AZUR Solar USA, not only provides green power to the Science Center but also an educational experience on the science of solar for its visitors.

The high efficiency PV system, engineered and installed by AZUR Solar USA, consists of specially coated PV panels that provide increased protection to the energy generating solar cells. The array will produce about 42,660 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, or enough energy to power about three homes. The renewable energy will help reduce operating costs at the Science Center, and the panels are expected to remain in operation for 25 years. The Science Center also upgraded its HVAC system and installed a reflective roof.

“The Science Center solar array joins OUC’s Gold LEED-certified Reliable Plaza in serving as a showcase for solar generation and a source of green power in Orlando,” Porta said.  “The thousands of children who visit the Science Center each year will have the opportunity to learn about solar, and that’s important because we know that if you can encourage sustainable habits in children, you can have a positive impact on our future.”

The Science Center system is similar in size to the PV array atop Reliable Plaza’s rooftop, which is also home to a solar thermal system.

In addition, an interactive Solar Educational Exhibit will provide real-time and historical data detailing the energy produced and the corresponding environmental benefits. Visitors will be able to follow technical displays of the system components in use. The educational exhibit will be a source for information about evolving solar technologies and will be continuously updated with examples of the latest in solar power technology.

Newman says the new technology is a perfect fit. “Every year nearly 300,000 visitors come to explore our dynamic and engaging content,” Newman said. “Through interactive exhibits like this, we show how science impacts everyday life.”

President and CEO of AZUR Solar USA Philip J. Riddle added, “We are very proud to be a partner in the educational aspect of this project.” The AZUR Solar system utilizes technologies developed in Germany. The state of the art system delivers higher productivity rates than standard un-coated panels. Any excess energy generated by the system will be “net metered,” or sold, back to the OUC electrical grid. OUC will retain all of the environmental attributes associated with the project.

OUC—The Reliable One: Established in 1923 by a special act of the Florida Legislature, OUC—The Reliable One is the second largest municipal utility in Florida. OUC provides electric and water services to more than 254,000 customers in Orlando, St. Cloud and parts of unincorporated Orange and Osceola counties.

Orlando Science Center: Incorporated in 1955, the Orlando Science Center is one of America’s top hands-on science centers where learning is always fun. Interactive learning and discovery await within the center’s hundreds of exhibits, programs and labs, giant screen films and planetarium shows. The science center provides educational opportunities both within and outside the center’s walls, including field trips, family science nights at schools and community centers and other outreach.