OUC - The Reliable One, The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation, and Azur Solar USA Support Installation of Solar Panels That Will Produce 42,660 kWh of Electricity Annually

Orlando, FL - June 16, 2010 - The Orlando Science Center now has part of its facility being powered by the sun thanks to a new solar panel system. This system, recently installed on the Science Center’s roof, is expected to produce about 42,660 kWh of electricity annually - enough to power about three homes. The solar panel installation is part of the Science Center’s effort to increase its energy efficiency, decrease operational costs and serve as a community leader in the use of sustainable technologies.

In addition to the installation, educational experiences are currently being designed to engage guests in the science of solar power. The Science Center plans to use its facility as a showcase for sustainable technologies, including energy efficient lighting, high efficiency cooling, smart building controls and solar technology.

The installation was made possible by OUC - The Reliable One, The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation, and Azur Solar USA. OUC’s involvement is part of its organization’s educational outreach program while Darden’s reflects its commitment to education and sustainability. Like OUC, Azur Solar USA wanted to raise awareness of solar power as an alternative energy resource.

“The Orlando Science Center can show people how science is truly relevant by educating in a way that’s colorful, understandable and fun,” said Science President and CEO JoAnn Newman. “Thanks to OUC - The Reliable One, The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation, and Azur Solar USA, we can provide opportunities to engage the public about sustainable technologies by illustrating their real world applications.”

Tours, demonstrations and information will connect the public with the science behind sustainability. Through these experiences, guests will discover the positive impact of sustainable technologies and what that means for the Science Center’s operations, the environment, the economy, and the consumer.

“The Orlando Science Center’s use of solar energy can be a powerful educational tool to raise awareness about the need to create a more sustainable world,” said Ian Olson, director of Sustainability for Darden. “Through our support, we hope to instill the same passion in others that we have for being good stewards of our natural resources.”

“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,” OUC Board President Katie 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 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 renewable energy will help reduce operating costs at the Science Center, and the panels are expected to remain in operation for 25 years. 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 Science Center is pursuing U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for its facility. LEED is a certification program and nationally accepted benchmark for the operation of high performance eco-friendly buildings. These enhancements will help the Science Center move toward this certification due to the estimated reduction in energy consumption. Once it is secured, the Science Center will be one of only dozens of Central Florida buildings with this designation.

“It is very important to us that these new enhancements serve an educational, as well as an operational, purpose,” said JoAnn Newman, President and CEO of the Orlando Science Center. “We want to educate people about these valuable technologies and then inspire them to do what they can to become more energy efficient.”


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