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The city of Sarasota already has two electric car-charging stations in the Palm Avenue parking garage. Photo by Rachel S. O'Hara.
Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 22, 2011 3 years ago

City receives jolt from new program

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by: Kurt Schultheis Managing Editor
 

Florida Power & Light plans to install six electric car-charging stations within city of Sarasota limits by the end of the year.

The charging stations, which will be free to the public, will be installed in the following locations:
• Two pedestal-mounted charging stations at Bayfront Park Marina
• One wall-mounted charging station in the City Hall parking lot
• Two pedestal-mounted charging stations for the St. Armands Circle south parking lot
• One wall-mounted charging station on the second floor of the Whole Foods parking garage

The city has already installed two charging stations in the Palm Avenue parking garage, which will give the city eight charging stations by the end of the year.

St. Armands Circle Business Improvement District Chairman Marty Rappaport made the announcement at a BID meeting earlier this month. He said FPL’s announcement was a smart business decision.

“It makes sense to install stations for free public use until the electric-car market really begins to take off,” Rappaport said.

FPL Senior Media Relations Specialist Marie Bertot told the Sarasota Observer the charging stations are being installed through a partnership with the city.

“We are partnering with the city on several pilot projects, including electric charging stations,” said Bertot, who explained the charging stations are part of a Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Energy Sustainability Agreement with the city.

“FPL’s primary role is to serve as a resource for information on electric charging stations for our customers, government agencies and others who are interested in installing public charging stations. In this role, we can advise on topics such as permitting, inspections and the locations of the charging stations.”

Bertot said the exact cost of the six charging stations is not available at this time, but the project is funded through shareholder dollars, not through customer rates. 

“Like most utilities, FPL has decided not to sell, lease or maintain public charging stations,” she said.
City Environmental Specialist Alison Albee called the electric-car charging stations “another plus for the city of Sarasota.”

Although the two charging stations installed in the Palm Avenue parking garage cannot be monitored for use, Albee suspects they aren’t being used often.

“It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing more and more electric hybrid vehicles that will be able to take advantage of the charging stations coming online,” Albee said.

FPL’s commitment to energy sustainability
The installation of six electric car-charging stations in the city of Sarasota is one component of a Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Energy Sustainability Agreement Florida Power & Light has with the city of Sarasota. The agreement includes other programs, such as energy-efficiency education programs for students, energy audits for residents and businesses, a solar panel installation at Bay Haven School of Basics-Plus and the installation of five solar streetlights. In addition, FPL plans to provide home-energy makeovers for low-income and senior citizen homeowners. 

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