L to R: Dell Jones and Rudy Wodrich of Solar Utility Partners of Estero, Conrad Wodrich, a long-time Sanibel Sea School student, and Dr. Bruce Neill, Sanibel Sea School's Executive Director, pose for a photo with the solar array control panels on activation day. 

L to R: Dell Jones and Rudy Wodrich of Solar Utility Partners of Estero, Conrad Wodrich, a long-time Sanibel Sea School student, and Dr. Bruce Neill, Sanibel Sea School's Executive Director, pose for a photo with the solar array control panels on activation day. 

Sanibel Sea School, in partnership with Dell Jones and Rudy Wodrich of Solar Utility Partners of Estero, recently completed the installation of a rooftop photovoltaic solar array at their Flagship Campus on Periwinkle Way. It is the first commercial installation of its kind on Sanibel, and is expected to generate over 15,000 kWh per year, with an annual energy value of roughly $1800.

Solar panels are installed on the roof of Sanibel Sea School's Flagship Campus, located at 455 Periwinkle Way. 

Solar panels are installed on the roof of Sanibel Sea School's Flagship Campus, located at 455 Periwinkle Way. 

The solar array was partially funded by the Bill Healy Foundation, and Jones and Wodrich worked tirelessly to secure donated and discounted materials for the project from a variety of vendors, in addition to donating their own time to coordinate and oversee the installation. The project will continue to pay for itself in energy savings over the next few years. “After that, we will be able to invest the additional savings to further our mission and give more people meaningful ocean experiences,” said the organization’s Executive Director, Dr. Bruce Neill.

Doc Bruce activates the solar panels. 

Doc Bruce activates the solar panels. 

The Sea School also has plans to add an educational exhibit to teach visitors about solar power and its potential in Florida. “Climate change and ocean acidification caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions are the largest threats to our seas, so how we choose to generate the electricity we use has a direct impact on ocean health,” said Neill. “It is very important to us as an organization to operate in an ocean-friendly manner, and to inspire other businesses in our community and our state to do the same.” Neill hopes that the solar panels, along with efforts to educate the public about them, will encourage others to consider how they can incorporate solar power into their own lives. 

 

Thank you to those who have supported our solar installation financially and through discounts, in-kind donations, time, ideas, expertise, and more:

The Bill Healy Foundation, Rudy Wodrich, Dell Jones, Solar Utility Partners of Estero, Canadian Solar, Shoals Technology, Fortune Energy, US Solar, Norman J. Scheel, Advance Solar, Sanibel Air and Electric, LCEC, Dan Hahn Custom Builders, Soon Come Landscaping, and the Plank-DiCarlo Family Foundation. 

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