Duke Energy Florida announced Monday that it has installed one million solar panels in the Sunshine State.
The company hit the seven-figure mark at its Columbia Solar Power Plant in Fort White, and it’s not stopping at a million — Duke Energy said it plans to install a significant amount of additional solar energy over the next 10 years across the state.
“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.”
In all, Duke Energy expects to have 515 megawatts of solar power solar under construction or operating by mid-2020. By mid-2022, the company said that figure will grow to 700 megawatts, with a potential to hit 1,500 megawatts of solar generation by 2028.
The milestone comes four years after Duke Energy first dipped its toe into solar power.
In 2016, the company completed a 5-MW solar power plant that serves the Reedy Creek Improvement District and its customers, including Walt Disney World Resort. The 22-acre solar farm in Orlando is outfitted with 48,000 solar panels, arranged in the shape of Mickey Mouse.
Two years later, their solar projects had grown by orders of magnitude. In December of 2018, the company completed the Hamilton Solar Power Plant in Jasper. It features 300,000 solar panels and produces nearly 75 megawatts of power.
Other facilities include the Lake Placid Solar Power Plant in Highlands, the Trenton Solar Power Plant in Gilchrist County, and now the Columbia Solar Power Plant, which is expected to come online March.
Projects currently underway include the DeBary Solar Power Plant, the Twin Rivers Solar Power Plant and the Santa Fe Solar Power Plant. Combined, those three plants will produce nearly 225 megawatts of power.