With less than two months of winter left, South Florida is on the cusp of rising temperatures. So people working and playing outdoors again are looking for ways to beat the heat, from the crew working on the roof to the kids playing his basketball game in Pickup.

Broward County plans to launch an innovative solar power project on a crowded basketball court in Fort Lauderdale Park. This not only keeps players cool, but also helps reduce energy costs for the nearby African American Research Library and Cultural Center.

Through participation in Florida Power and Light’s Solar Together program, two canopies will be installed over basketball courts at Reverend Samuel Derevaux Memorial Park.

Installation will begin in June and is expected to be completed by October. The canopy’s solar panels, once completed, are expected to offset 30% of his energy use at the cultural center.

Dan West, director of the county’s parks and recreation department, says the park’s court was chosen in part because it’s so popular on the west side of Fort Lauderdale. That means many people will benefit from the $900,000 project.

More shade means less heat stress, the biggest health threat from climate change. “We are doing our best to look at existing facilities that can use solar panels that can not only recover energy, but also save costs and provide some value to our customers,” he said. says. “Not only does it save dollars, it can also provide other amenities for the public.”

The county is committed to meeting its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050, opening Paradise Covered Water Park at CB Smith Park in West Broward. Solar trees and canopies have already been installed throughout the county, including .

Rendering of Solar Panels on Broward Basketball Court 2.jpeg

Courtesy of Broward County

A rendering of the solar panels that Broward County and Florida Power and Light plan to install above a basketball court at Reverend Samuel Derevaux Memorial Park.

According to the National Weather Service, extreme heat is the deadliest weather phenomenon in the United States, and South Florida ranks among the regions with the highest average temperatures.

Public health experts have called for more shade and cooling zones in outdoor areas. Many people who work or exercise outdoors may already be experiencing some form of heat-related illness, such as dehydration or fatigue. Without an action plan, these effects will only get worse.

A report from the First Street Foundation announced last August that the Miami-Dade area would see the biggest increase in hot days over the next 30 years.

Broward County Chief Resilience Officer Jennifer Jurado highlights the risks that increased heat poses to the region. “When we think about climate change and its impacts, we often think of floods because they are very visible,” said Jurado.

“But we actually know that rising temperatures have a much more direct impact on public health. I think this is an incredible investment. while protecting children and others from the heat-exposing elements by keeping them away from strong sunlight.”

There are about 40 solar installations in the area, according to Jurado, but they’re just a small part of all the county’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. I’m sorry. For example, last year he invested nearly $20 million in more electric city buses.

The county is also prioritizing the reduction of personal water consumption and landfill waste.

This climate report is funded in part by private donors, Florida International University in partnership with the Knight Foundation. The Miami Herald retains editorial control of all content. This article was produced in partnership with the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a multi-newsroom initiative formed to cover the impacts of climate change in the state.


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