Florida Billboards Get Renewable Energy Upgrade

Over a thousand billboards throughout the state of Florida will be outfitted with renewable energy generation, courtesy of Lamar Advertising and a grant from the Department of Energy.

The $12.5 million project will place solar or wind energy systems on 1,370 billboards around the state. “This represents the largest single deployment of distributed renewable energy devices in Florida history,” said Robert B. Switzer, vice president of operations of Lamar Advertising in a press release. “With the completion of this historic project, we will be sending a clear message to millions of Florida residents and visitors every day that renewable energy works.”

Altogether, the billboard power systems will generate about 1 megawatt of electricity — not much. But the impact of the program is in the advertising, so to speak, for renewable energy the billboards provide, in addition to the advertising on the actual sign below.

The installations will be on billboards along interstates and major thoroughfares, giving the project the widest public exposure, according to the press release. Electricity generated by the systems will power the billboard, with excess being fed back into the grid.

The program was paid for in part with a $2.5-million grant from the Department of Energy, through the Florida Energy and Climate Commission and the Governor’s Energy Office. The remaining $10 million comes from Lamar.

The program is expected to be completed in 2012.

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.

10 responses

  1. This is a good first step. However, will more efficient light sources be used, such as LEDs? What about light pollution? The lights should not shine up into the night sky like most billboards do.

  2. All are being converted to LED's which control the off-axis (stray) light. You'll notice a big difference on these.

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