Venice golf course switches irrigation system to solar power

For golfers, it's a beautiful time of year to tee off. But right now, keeping the greens green can be expensive. 

The General Manager of Venice East Golf Association Lila Purcell says their bill for reclaimed water is "excessive."

 The association was paying for reclaimed water and the electricity to water their 51-acre course. 

"When I saw that it’s like oh that’s too much money," said Purcell. 

At first, she thought there was nothing they could do, but then she decided to look into one of the sunshine state's most abundant resources: The sun and solar power. 

"We get probably 10 or 12 hours of sun a day," said Carl Ford, the president of Venice East Golf Association.

Ford hired Advanced Solar to install a group of solar panels. Venice East is now one of the first courses to install the panels in Southwest Florida. 

The panels are out of sight and out of range of the course. They've been up and running their irrigation system for nearly a week. 

Ford said the savings are already evident. 

"This is going to save up between $350 and $400 a month in irrigation costs," said Ford. 

While golfers are on the course, Purcell watches as the panels work. They're already acquiring 345 Kilowatts of electricity. 

"That's a good chunk of money," said Purcell. 

The irrigation system is just the beginning. Venice East hopes to put up additional solar panels, enough to one day power its fleet of golf carts.

"Golf courses are perfect for it because they use a lot of electricity in maintaining their grounds. When they get a chance to look at the return of investment it just makes sense," said Daniel Rudy with Advanced Solar. 

Just like a hole in one - it's a win-win situation for the course. 

"It makes me feel good knowing that we are helping the environment and cutting back on our expenses," said Purcell.