Ever notice an obvious solution to a problem that nobody else seems to have picked up on? That’s what happened in Florida in 2012 when the Florida Solar Energy Center, working closely with the state energy office, began a program to equip public schools designated as community hurricane shelters with resilient solar+storage systems. Given the pace of technology and market development, both solar PV and batteries were more expensive at the time. In addition, since the program was funded through the federal ARRA program, US-manufactured equipment was required, rather than cheaper imported components. Still, Florida’s E-Shelter program has managed to put solar+storage systems at more than 115 schools so far, at an installed cost of $74,000 to $90,000 per school. Costs were low because the state took a “cookie cutter” approach and kept the systems small – a typical system consisted of a 10 kW solar PV array, with a 48 kW battery, just enough to keep lights and electrical outlets ... Read the Full Post »