Solar energy system installed at Mote Marine

SARASOTA -- A new solar-energy system was mounted Tuesday on a rooftop at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, which is launching its new Sustainable Energy Initiative this month, building upon two generous donations of solar panels from members of the Sarasota community.

One new system of 126 photovoltaic panels, valued at about $115,000, was donated by Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc. and is being installed by RegionSolar, which has worked to obtain a rebate for nearly half the cost through a Florida Power & Light Co. program authorized by the state Public Service Commission.

The 2,310-square-foot, 30.2-kilowatt solar-power system will start capturing solar energy this month to supplement electrical power at Mote's hospitals for dolphins, small whales and sea turtles.

A second 30.2-kilowatt system provided by local donor and solar-energy supporter Jim Lampl and installed recently will supplement power at Mote Aquaculture Park which operates 17 miles inland using recirculated water, develops sustainable technology for seafood production and for raising marine fish to support wild populations.

Mote is seeking support for its new energy initiative that will allow for more solar power and other environmentally responsible practices. Each donation of about $960 covers the purchase and installation of one new solar panel, and if enough support is received, Mote will apply for future rounds of solar rebates.

To donate to Mote's Sustainable Energy Initiative, visit and click the button for the Initiative or contact Barbara Meyer at 941-388-4441, ext. 309.