Palm Coast - The City of Palm Coast is participating in FPL's SolarNow program - bringing a new kind of solar to life that harnesses the energy from the sun while providing Palm Coast residents and visitors with covered parking and shade at Palm Coast parks.

Three distinctive and innovative solar trees have been "planted" at Central Park in Town Center, and a solar canopy has been installed over the front parking lot at the Palm Coast Community Center. A second solar canopy will soon be added over the parking area near the baseball fields at Holland Park. The solar trees have USB connections that can be used by park visitors to charge their mobile devices.

"The sun shines abundantly in Palm Coast, and we're committed to protecting our natural environment for future generations. So we are excited to bring FPL's SolarNow program to our City," said City Administration Coordinator Denise Bevan, who leads the Green Team.

"For a number of years, Palm Coast has championed the creation of a sustainable framework to encourage our community to care for land, water, air and wildlife," Bevan said. "SolarNow is a natural extension of the many innovative 'green city' initiatives and programs we already have."

Thanks to SolarNow and its more than 30,000 participants statewide, Palm Coast now has 217 solar panels powering the grid with 60 kW of clean energy and providing 26 vehicles with shade at the Community Center. With the canopy at Holland Park and the trees at Central Park, Palm Coast will be harnessing more than 100 kW of solar power with about 361 solar panels - enough to power about 12 homes!

"There are a lot of factors that played into our decision to partner with Palm Coast on these projects, but the most important is our shared commitment to sustainability," said Cory Ramsel, Senior Director of FPL Project Development. "We're excited to add Palm Coast to our growing SolarNow family - a network of zoos, parks and museums that have become living classrooms for people of all ages."

The new solar canopies generate zero-emissions energy and add an educational and interactive component to solar. The canopies' design allows solar to be easily integrated into urban landscapes at parks, zoos, museums, schools and now, the Palm Coast Community Center and Holland Park.

The FPL SolarNow program offers people an opportunity to see and learn about solar up close - something many have never experienced because solar panels are usually located out of sight on rooftops or at universal solar energy centers like the ones FPL is building across the state.

The voluntary SolarNow program allows FPL customers who support solar and want to see it in their local communities, an opportunity to do so by electing to contribute $9 on their monthly bill. More than 200 households in Palm Coast participate in the program.

Palm Coast's solar trees and canopies are the first in Flagler County, but SolarNow is sprouting up all across Florida. The City of South Daytona has four solar trees, and the program is coming to St. Augustine this spring.

For more information, contact Communications & Marketing Manager Cindi Lane at clane@palmcoastgov.com and 386-986-3708.