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February 18, 2009


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FORT LAUDERDALE - Governor Crist, continuing his focus on protecting Florida's environment and addressing climate change, joined Florida Atlantic University President Frank T. Brogan, students and faculty, and community leaders to unveil the university's first large-scale solar roof installation. Governor Crist applauded the project on the Fort Lauderdale campus, calling it a reminder of the importance of Florida's universities in keeping Florida beautiful and creating 'green' jobs.

"Florida's universities are taking a leadership role in the state's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of renewable energy technologies," said Governor Crist. "The research done on campuses like FAU not only prepares our future workforce, but it also fosters advances that will lead to more 'green' jobs."

The solar panel installation was suggested by two FAU School of Urban and Regional Planning graduate students as a part of their final research project, prompting one of the students and school faculty to develop a detailed proposal and secure funding for the research project. Installed this winter on the Higher Education Complex Building at the Fort Lauderdale campus, the solar panel project is funded through a variety of resources, including a private donation, existing school funds, a donation from Florida Power & Light, and the state's solar rebate program.

More than 230 solar panels were installed on the roof, producing energy that will help reduce the building's current demand and prevent greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the school is utilizing a portion of the project's cost savings for the Sun Fund Scholarship, touted as the nation's first such scholarship program. FAU will award a scholarship for one graduate student each year in FAU's School of Urban and Regional Planning.

The FAU solar project exemplifies the goals of the 2008 Energy and Economic Development Legislation signed into law by Governor Crist in June 2008. The legislation builds upon the foundation for Florida's energy future to diversify the state's energy sources, spur economic growth and promote energy conservation and efficiency. The legislation creates the Florida Energy & Climate Commission, a central office for state energy and climate change programs and policies, as well as the Florida Energy Systems Consortium, a collaboration of state universities to bolster and share scientific research and discoveries.

This comprehensive legislative package authorizes the development of a cap-and-trade regulatory program, which gives businesses flexibility in meeting greenhouse gas reduction standards. It creates a renewable fuel standard for motor vehicles and a renewable portfolio standard for utilities; provides grants and incentives to promote and enhance the use of alternative and renewable energy technologies; and increases energy efficiency requirements for appliances and new buildings.

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