Energy innovation, sustainability of special interest to campus visitors
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam H. Putnam and District 27 State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto learned about FGCU’s innovations in sustainability and energy saving during a campus visit last week.
The two met with FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ronald B. Toll and Professor Joseph H. Simmons, who holds the Backe Chair in Renewable Energy. FGCU’s innovative solar field was among their scheduled tour stops; they also met informally with a group of student leaders.
Putnam oversees the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which promotes innovation in energy development. Benacquisto (R-Fort Myers) serves on the Senate’s Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee; her district includes portions of Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Glades and Palm Beach counties.
“I’m just thrilled with the growth of the campus,” Putnam said. “It’s really kept the emphasis on connecting with the landscape. The solar field is really cutting edge.”
The 10,818 solar panels on the15-acre field on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway produce roughly 85 percent of the energy needed to power FGCU’s Lutgert Hall, Holmes Hall and Academic Building 7. This reduces the university’s reliance on Florida Power & Light Co. by 18 percent, saving about $700,000 a year between electric bills and revenue from renewable energy credits.
“It’s incumbent upon all of us to make sure we’re on the leading edge,” Benacquisto said.
For more information, contact FGCU Director of Government Relations Jennifer Goen at (239) 590-1020.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam H. Putnam and District 27 State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto with FGCU students