Waste Pro to unveil new solar plant

MANATEE — A local garbage hauler says it will become the first in Florida to power its building with solar power.

Waste Pro Inc. said Thursday it is planning a dedication ceremony next week for its state-of-the-art solar-power system at its 7921 15th St. E. facility.

“We’re not your usual ‘trash’ company,” Keith Banasiak, a Waste Pro regional vice president, said in a statement. “We’ve made a concerted effort to make a positive impact on the community, and a solar-powered building is one of our initiatives in the Sarasota-Manatee area.”

The solar-power system will generate up to 120 kilowatt hours of electricity per day, enough to cover most of the facility’s needs. Any electricity not used will be sent to the utility grid for credit.

Waste Pro partnered with Ecotechnologies of Sarasota, which applied a compact system of flat panels — about the thickness of 20 sheets of notebook paper — onto the building’s roof. The panels are extremely light-sensitive and can generate electricity even under a full moon.

The construction permit for the solar-power system estimated its value at $195,000, which Waste Pro will partly recover through a state rebate and federal tax credit.

“It was a large investment for our company but the return on investment will occur in only 18 to 24 months,” Banasiak said.

The solar-power system is the latest project in Waste Pro’s “Blue Sky-Green Earth” corporate policy. The company also was one of the first waste haulers to use hybrid trucks with an advanced oil purification system that saves oil and reduces the firm’s carbon footprint.

State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, is among those scheduled to speak during the dedication ceremony planned for 2 p.m. Thursday.