Meanwhile, it was announced last week that the Largo-based company Solar Source had recently installed 21 active solar hot water systems at various municipal buildings in St. Pete, purchased through a grant from the 2009 stimulus bill. Officials say the solar water heaters are expected to save the city approximately $20,000 per year on operating expenses through reduced electricity bills.
Those water heaters were installed at four fire stations, the Sanitation Operations building, three sewage treatment plants, the Water Resources Building, the Sunshine Center, the Enoch Davis Rec Center, City Hall, the city golf courses, and the Coliseum.
At a budget hearing last month, Mayor Bill Foster boasted that St. Pete is becoming more energy-efficient. "We have 17 solar part projects under construction now, along with 24 solar hot water heater projects. And we estimate a savings of approximately $1 million in energy costs once these are complete. So, we are looking at ways not only to be a little more environmentally friendly but certainly more cost-efficient as well.”
The German firm NEP (New Energy Project & Finance GmbH) last year proposed building a solar energy farm and equipment factory in St. Petersburg. More details about that plan are expected to surface soon. CL reported on European interests in building a solar farm in St. Pete last summer.