City of Sarasota installs solar panels on new St. Armands Parking Garage

Solar Panels Installed Atop Garage

SARASOTA (WWSB) -St. Armands is going solar. Well, the new parking garage is.

The City of Sarasota is in the process of installing 98 solar panels on the third level.

Staff said this will save the City more than $5,000 per year on electricity costs.

There is a cost up front though. In total, the City said the panels are about $190,000.

They’ll be paid for with the parking garage fees and the special assessment, a self-imposed tax for the commercial property owners in the area.

So, why solar?

“It’s free! The sun is free, it’s good for the environment," said the City’s sustainability manager, Stevie Freeman-Montes. "We’re trying to help the transition away from fossil fuel energy sources because they have negative impacts on the environment. So this is just our way to try to invest in the bigger picture of helping the impact towards our climate.”

The City said it expects to be done with installation by the start of next week. About a quarter of the garage’s needed energy will be generated by the panels.

Staff said the system will produce an estimated 53-thousand kilowatt hours / year. That’s equivalent to preventing the greenhouse gas emissions from 40,973 pounds of coal burned; 4,200 gallons of gasoline consumed and 91,600 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.

The power generated will be used to light the garage and even operate the electric vehicle charging stations.

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