City of New Smyrna Beach Hires FSEC to Conduct Building Audits and Solar Studies

New Smyrna Beach seal. In center of seal are boats without sails sitting in water, with palm leaves on edges.

The City of New Smyrna Beach is considering solar and renewable energy resources for their municipal facilities, and has hired FSEC’s interdisciplinary team of energy analysts and solar engineers to conduct energy audits and solar feasibility assessments for 18 facilities.

The energy audits will identify cost-effective measures for reducing building energy consumption in order to optimize the expenditures for solar equipment. The solar feasibility assessment will detail the best options for renewable energy, including sizing, installation costs, maintenance costs, system life expectancy, and return on investment. FSEC will provide recommendations for reducing the city’s overall electrical demand and also for developing attainable goals for incremental solar and renewable energy installations.

For more information, contact Faith Miller, New Smyrna Beach Maintenance Operations Director, fmiller@cityofnsb.com, or Colleen Kettles, FSEC Program Director, ckettles@fsec.ucf.edu.

FAQ: New Legislation Regarding Solar Energy System Certification (HB 1021)

By Colleen Kettles
July 27, 2017

The 2017 Florida Legislature, through HB 1021, amended the Solar Energy Standards Act of 1976 that governs the certification of solar energy systems manufactured or sold in Florida.

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

Florida Legislative amendments in HB 1021 do not relieve FSEC from the legislative mandate to develop and adopt standards for solar energy systems, nor does it remove the authority of FSEC to test and certify solar energy systems.

Q:  How does HB 1021 specify the certification of solar energy systems that are sold or manufactured in the State of Florida?

A:  HB 1021 specifies solar energy system certification as follows:

“(d) All solar energy systems manufactured or sold in the state must meet the standards established by the center and shall display accepted results of approved performance tests in a manner prescribed by the center, unless otherwise certified by an engineer licensed pursuant to ch. 471 using the standards contained in the most recent version of the Florida Building code.”

HB 1021 defines the ‘center’ to mean “the Florida Solar Energy Center of the Board of Governors.”

Chapter 471 (F.S.) specifies the manner by which licensed Florida engineers are authorized to submit design documents to local code enforcement jurisdictions for permitting as follows:

471.0195 Florida Building Code training for engineers.—All licensees actively participating in the design of engineering works or systems in connection with buildings, structures, or facilities and systems covered by the Florida Building Code shall take continuing education courses and submit proof to the board, at such times and in such manner as established by the board by rule, that the licensee has completed any specialized or advanced courses on any portion of the Florida Building Code applicable to the licensee’s area of practice. The board shall record reported continuing education courses on a system easily accessed by code enforcement jurisdictions for evaluation when determining license status for purposes of processing design documents. Local jurisdictions shall be responsible for notifying the board when design documents are submitted for building construction permits by persons who are not in compliance with this section. The board shall take appropriate action as provided by its rules when such noncompliance is determined to exist.

History.—s. 38, ch. 2000-356; s. 23, ch. 2002-299; s. 12, ch. 2009-195.

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New Research Facility to Test Home Energy Improvements

COCOA, Jan. 14, 2011 – Recognizing the need for statewide energy efficiency, UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center celebrates the completion of its newest research facility for testing energy improvements in new and existing homes. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for this endeavor was held today on UCF’s Cocoa campus.

Initial research at the Flexible Residential Test Facility will focus on energy improvement potentials in vintage Florida homes. Those constructed prior to 1975 make up 63 percent of Florida’s more than eight million existing homes, which represents a substantial energy and cost savings potential for cost-effective, “deep” home energy improvements, or retrofits. Prospective savings could result in 30 to 50 percent of current residential energy use.

Funded by the state’s Florida Energy Systems Consortium, the research facility was instrumental in attracting a major multi-million dollar, four-year research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Ribbon cutting of Flexible Residential Test Facility
Cutting the ribbon at the opening of the Flexible Residential Test Facility are (left to right) Robin Vieira, Director, Buildings Research at Florida Solar Energy Center; David Lee, U.S. Department of Energy’s Director of Residential Building Programs; James Fenton, Director, Florida Solar Energy Center.

“As we address greenhouse gas emissions, we have to look at retrofitting existing homes. This facility will be instrumental in researching the impacts of home energy efficiency improvements in hot climates,” said Mr. David Lee, U.S. Department of Energy’s Director of Residential Building Programs.

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NYC Mayor Bloomberg Visits FSEC

NYC Mayor Bloomberg Visits FSEC

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) welcomed the Mayor of the City of New York, Michael Bloomberg, and First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris for a tour of the facility on Friday, June 20, 2008. Mayor Bloomberg expressed an interest in learning about FSEC’s role in the research and development of large-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems and hydrogen fuel cells, as well as recent breakthroughs related to “green,” energy-efficient building practices.

The mayors’ tour took them through some of FSEC’s laboratories, including the Manufactured Housing Lab, FSEC’s 1,600 square-foot manufactured home that serves as a training center and building science laboratory. They also stopped at the PV testing lab and the thin film PV lab, where researchers are developing the next generation of high-efficiency PV cells, as well as the hydrogen and fuel cell lab.

Photo of NYC Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris, and Michael Hopper, Director of Advance Operations
Mayor of the City of New York, Michael Bloomberg (left), First Deputy Mayor, Patricia Harris, and Director of Advanced Operations, Michael Hopper, listen as FSEC Senior Research Scientist, Clovis Linkous, explains how a fuel cell works and points out the challenges this technology faces as an alternative fuel for transportation.Photo: Nicholas Waters

As the mayors walked through the PV testing areas, they learned about FSEC’s testing techniques and requirements. A PV roof-top system, used during FSEC’s PV installer courses, was used to demonstrate how a properly installed PV system operates and show how students in the installer course verify a system has been installed correctly. In the thin film PV lab, researchers spoke with the mayors about the different types of PV cells and the work being performed at FSEC to increase the efficiency of thin film PV cells while lowering their price. In the hydrogen labs, researchers explained the physics behind hydrogen fuel cells and demonstrated FSEC’s patented hydrogen-detection sensor, Smart Paint.

Mayor Bloomberg is the 108th Mayor of the City of New York. Elected to office only two months after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, he helped the city to rebound faster and stronger than anyone expected. He has recently undertaken a campaign to fight global warming while preparing New York for an estimated million more residents by 2030, through the efficient use of land, water and energy.