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$7M solar panel project complete

Assurant Specialty Property celebrated Earth Day with the official completion of its large solar panel installation and a $5,000 grant to a local organization for environmental projects.

Assurant spent $7 million to install more than 6,200 solar panels on the roof of the building and newly built parking canopies. The panels will produce more than 1.9 million kilowatt hours of solar power annually, a reduction of more than 1,400 tons of carbon dioxide.

“This is representative of Assurant’s major commitment to making clean energy,” said Ray Rafferty, vice president of Assurant’s Springfield Service Center at Monday’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

Jeanne Schwartz, vice president of Assurant’s solar division, said that the company started the solar panel project as a way to learn about solar panels and create an insurance program for the industry.

In May 2012, the company launched an insurance bundle for solar panel systems, she said.

Schwartz also presented the Center City Association with a $5,000 grant to use toward an environmental project of its choosing.

“We do like to support the communities where we work and live,” Schwartz said.

Center City is working with the county to determine how best to use the funds, said Elaine Morris Roberts, the association’s interim executive director.

“It’s a great opportunity to look into areas that have been untapped so far,” she said. “Downtown is a place for business and entertainment but also a place that’s environmental as well.”

Center City was also a partner in the Great Downtown Clean Up on Saturday. More than 90 people came to the event and collected 180 bags of litter and debris, said Carly Woodrow, community relations specialist for the Clark County Waste Management District.

“People like to come and partake in an event like this because it creates a real sense of community and also camaraderie,” Woodrow said.

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