SOURCE: US Solar Institute

US Solar Institute

April 30, 2012 06:01 ET

Florida's Premier Solar PV School Expands Facilities With Grant Money

US Solar Institute Receives Funding From Fort Lauderdale's Community Redevelopment Agency to Renovate Its Campus and Incorporate More Green Technologies

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwire - Apr 30, 2012) - In early April, Fort Lauderdale's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) approved a $5,700 contract to help renovate the main campus of US Solar Institute (USSI). In addition to a new classroom and rooftop teaching lab, the improvements will include a new sidewalk, solar-powered street lighting, permeable parking lot, and rain water capture cistern for USSI's organic garden.

With this extra funding, USSI will also install a wind turbine -- both for instructional purposes and to further enhance its status as downtown Fort Lauderdale's first commercial net-positive energy building.

Spearheading these renovations is Urbanform Design Group -- an architectural firm with deep roots in renewable energy. Comments Ray Johnson, lead instructor and USSI President, "Having local architects with long ties to Fort Lauderdale's renewable energy market is a great fit." Johnson adds, "Their passion and commitment to the success of the project was felt from our first meeting."

Despite being the first licensed solar training college of its kind in the world, this is only the second time USSI has received funding of this type. Earlier in 2012, the CRA donated $7,500 to help USSI repair its main building after damage from Hurricane Wilma. In previous years, however, the school had largely been ignored -- even when the Broward County School system received over $3 million in DOL Recovery Act funds earmarked for green training.

Over its 3-year history, USSI has funded most of its own operations, moving into better facilities and training over 500 qualified solar PV installers in the process.

"We could have used that early seed money, but we're incredibly proud of our track record," says Johnson. "No other downtown buildings can claim to be net-positive energy users -- even those benefiting from Recovery Act funds." He adds, "We're grateful for the CRA's help and hope to continue growing."

For more about US Solar Institute's PV training courses, visit:

About US Solar Institute
US Solar Institute is licensed by the Florida Department of Education to offer PV diplomas, the Florida Department of Businesses and Professional Regulation, and the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board as a continuing education provider. US Solar Institute is also a partner of Underwriter Laboratories and a NABCEP PV Exam Provider.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Ray Johnson