One million panels: Duke Energy Florida makes rich investment in solar

Photo courtesy Duke Energy.

Duke Energy Florida announced Monday that it installed its one millionth solar panel in the state. The landmark panel was placed in Duke’s Columbia Solar Power Plant in Fort White.

“This is an exciting announcement as we increasingly deliver cleaner, more reliable energy to our customers,” said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida state president. “By mid-year, our solar plants are expected to eliminate nearly 1.5 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. That’s the equivalent of taking 130,000 passenger cars off Florida roads.”

Duke Energy Florida plans to add even more solar capacity over the next 10 years. It will reach close to 515 MW under construction or operational by midway this year, according to reports.

The utility will have invested about $1 billion to build or buy 700 MW of solar power during the four-year period ending 2022. The longer term plan calls for more than 1,500 MW of new solar generation by 2028.

Among the Duke Energy Florida projects which helped it reach one million solar panels a 5-MW plant serving the Reedy Creek Improvement District and customers such as the Walt Disney World Resort; the 3.8-MW solar farm in Oseola County and 8.8 MW in Suwannee County, among others. Other, bigger projects include:

  • The 74.9-MW Hamilton Solar Power Plant has 300,000 solar panels and came online in December 2018. It is located in Jasper, Hamilton County.
  • The 45-MW Lake Placid Solar Power Plant in Highlands County began serving customers Dec. 9, 2019, with 180,000 solar panels. 
  • The Trenton Solar Power Plant in Gilchrist County began serving customers Dec. 18, 2019. The facility is 74.9 MW and has 280,000 solar panels.

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