TECO floating solar array — next great thing in renewable energy

Big Bend Floating Solar
Double-sided solar panels can produce as much as 30% more energy than traditional panels.

In November, Tampa Electric shared its vision for net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2050. This week, Tampa Electric offered a sneak peek at the new Big Bend Floating Solar Array under construction, expected to come online by the end of March.

The array comprises double-sided solar panels, which enables Tampa Electric to generate even more renewable energy using less space. Studies show double-sided panels can produce as much as 30% more energy than traditional panels.

“We are proud to lead the way on this innovative renewable energy project, and our customers will benefit,” said Archie Collins, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. “Exploring alternative solutions like this, to maximize space while producing as much solar energy as possible, will play a significant role in achieving our vision of net-zero carbon emissions.”

The project consists of 1 megawatt (MW) solar panels sitting atop an existing pond at the Big Bend Power Station. The panels stretch over 3 acres. The company has installed 3,200 double-sided solar panels to maximize energy production by capturing the sunlight’s reflection on the water.

The first of its kind project in Tampa Bay is a collaboration with the Florida Aquarium and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It is an expansion of the Clean Energy Center at the Florida Conservation and Technology Center in Apollo Beach.

Tampa Electric has already become the leading producer of solar energy per customer in Florida. By using solar power, Tampa Electric has saved more than 2 billion gallons of water, significantly helping to support water conservation efforts in critical parts of Florida.

By the end of 2023, Tampa Electric will have more than 1,250 MW of solar power — enough to power more than 200,000 homes. Experts estimate that 14% of Tampa Electric’s energy will be fueled by the sun, the highest percentage of solar power of any utility in the state of Florida.

One of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, Tampa Electric serves about 800,000 customers in West Central Florida.

Staff Reports



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