Duke to build solar capacity for Disney; Tomorrowland gets a solar future

Duke Energy Florida said that on May 27 it received approval to build, own and operate a 5-MW solar facility that will serve the Reedy Creek Improvement District near Orlando, Fla.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District’s Board of Supervisors voted to accept a 15-year power-purchase agreement with Duke Energy Florida Solar Solutions LLC, a subsidiary of Duke Energy Florida, to purchase solar energy from the facility. Once constructed, all of the energy from the facility will be sold to the district to meet its energy needs.

“Our new solar facility agreement is another example of how we’re always looking at innovative ways to conserve our natural resources,” said Bill Warren, administrator for Reedy Creek Improvement District, which provides governmental services, including utility systems. “The use of solar energy builds on our commitment to protect the environment and is another step toward realizing our long-term sustainability goals.”

The facility will occupy approximately 20 acres near World Drive and Epcot Center Drive at Walt Disney World Resort. Construction is expected to begin mid-summer with the facility to be in service by year end. The facility’s 48,000 solar panels will be arranged in the shape of a Disney-inspired design.

“We are committed to working with customers to expand their use of renewable energy,” said Alex Glenn, president, Duke Energy Florida. “This opportunity to serve the Reedy Creek Improvement District is another example of how we are meeting our customers’ interests in renewable energy, while bringing more solar choices to Florida.”

Duke Energy Florida noted that it has taken several steps to advance solar technology in its service area.

  • In April, the company announced plans to build up to 500 MW of solar by 2024 as part of a 10-year plan.
  • It also has funded more than $8 million in solar photovoltaic system installations at approximately 50 K-12 schools and universities in Florida to generate electricity and help foster renewable energy education.

Duke Energy Florida owns natural gas- and coal-fired generation providing over 9,000 MW of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area. It is a unit of Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK).

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.