Clear Sky Tampa Bay2020-09-01T12:51:31-04:00

Clear Sky Tampa Bay

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Staff Contacts

Sarah Vitale, AICP – Project Manager
Senior Planner | LinkedIn

Alana Todd – Project Coordinator
Environmental Planner
(727) 570-5151 ext. 40

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Clear Sky Tampa Bay

Developing a Resilience-Based Siting and Valuation Toolkit for Solar+Storage and Microgrids

Long-lasting power outages caused by hurricanes and other disasters have major impacts on communities and local economies. Leading organizations and energy agencies across the country are working to evaluate the role of solar energy and battery storage on specific buildings to improve local community resilience goals.

An innovative project, led by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to participate in a collaborative research effort to develop novel applications of solar energy. NREL is leading the Solar Energy Innovation Network with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. NREL pursues fundamental research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to transform the way we use energy.

“We selected teams that are experimenting with promising ideas to assess the use of solar power, such as for resilience in commercial-scale applications,” said Eric Lockhart, who leads the Innovation Network at NREL. “The work of these teams will provide a blueprint and useful resources for other communities.”

Clear Sky Tampa Bay Team

Lead Organization:  Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council

Local Government Partners:  Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Manatee County, City of Largo

Private Sector Partner:  Solar Energy Management, LLC

Academic Partner:  University of South Florida’s Patel College of Global Sustainability

Clear Sky Tampa Bay is creating a regional technical and economic framework for integrating disaster risk reduction and other resilience factors into solar-plus-storage siting and cost-benefit analyses.

Recent technical reports produced by NREL, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and other institutions have identified the need to create a consistent framework for assessing and defining the value of disaster resilience benefits. For example, assessments could look at shelters, refrigerated warehouses which store medicine or food, and municipal buildings and critical infrastructure.

Clear Sky Tampa Bay: Commercial-Scale Solar Cohort

Clear Sky Tampa Bay is one of eight teams from around the country that are implementing creative ideas to use solar power in rural communities or in commercial-scale application. Common themes include solar plus storage, community solar, resilience benefits of solar, and the value of solar in distributed systems—though each team is pursuing its own approach.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Rocky Mountain Institute are helping the eight teams realize and demonstrate these novel, often never-before-tried applications with extensive analytical and modeling support and facilitated stakeholder engagement. The second round of the Solar Energy Innovation Network is expected to run through 2021 and conclude with a symposium at which teams will present their findings to organizations interested in similar efforts.

Energy Resilience Resources

Solar Energy Innovation Network

Clear Sky Team Highlights

Pinellas County Sustainability and Resiliency Initiatives

Pinellas County has established the overall goal of becoming more sustainable and resilient to current vulnerabilities and future environmental conditions, through both internal practices and external community services and impacts. Thus far, we have been successful in developing and initiating programs, projects, and policies to enhance environmental stewardship, implement green technologies, address and mitigate vulnerabilities, and plan for hazards. Of note is the recent creation of the county’s first Sustainability & Resiliency Coordinator position, the [...]

City of Largo Breaking Ground on Wastewater Resiliency Projects

The City of Largo has made major commitments to increasing the use of clean energy and is a Local Government Partner in the Clear Sky Tampa Bay project. “Evaluating the use of solar energy for critical facilities and community buildings requires a comprehensive analysis,” said Largo Mayor Woody Brown, “and this project will help support our goals.”The City of Largo broke ground on a 13,187-square-foot wastewater treatment operations building in November 2019. It will be the City’s [...]

Clear Sky Partners with USF-Patel College of Global Sustainability

The Clear Sky Project Team has partnered with the University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS). PCGS Professor Pradeep Haldar, faculty lead for this project, has extensive solar finance expertise and integrated the Clear Sky project into his energy finance course. Learning Objectives: Develop a thorough understanding of financial impacts of sustainability projects. Understand the role and interplay between the various stakeholders and opportunities to pursue sustainable projects. Ability to think creatively, [...]

Manatee County Energy & Sustainability Initiatives

Manatee County is responsible for many innovative resiliency actions that benefit the community. Manatee County staff participated in a meeting associated with the first round of the NREL SEIN program, and worked closely with TBRPC to develop the project proposal. “We consider the nexus of energy, resilience and public safety as mission critical,” said Manatee County Administrator Cheri Coryea. “We have key staff members in place who allow Manatee County to expand both its involvement [...]

Resiliency Through Solar: How Hillsborough County is Planning for the Future with Sustainable Solutions

“For more than a decade, Hillsborough County has been leading an aggressive effort to implement solar energy technologies. Currently, there are 1,449 kilowatts or 1.4 megawatts on county buildings, such as libraries, throughout the community,” said Hillsborough County Commissioner Mariella Smith. “These improvements are cutting energy costs, reducing emissions, and creating more resilient energy sources that can keep critical infrastructure and services running through hurricanes and other crises.” The initiative was motivated by a desire to cut [...]

Regional Resiliency Initiatives

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