Daytona Speedway to be FPL solar powered by next year

Artist’s conceptual rendering of an FPL solar canopy at Dayton

Although the action on the track will still run on gas, much of the Daytona 500 next year could be solar powered.

Florida Power & Light Company and Daytona International Speedway announced today the plan to install a large solar power array at the “World Center of Racing.”

More than 5,000 commercial-scale distributed solar panels, part of the $400 million Daytona Rising redevelopment project, will help power both the Speedway’s Operations and FPL customers during one of the biggest weeks for motor sports.

Construction of the solar installation begins by this fall, and it should be connected to the FPL grid by the end of the year, and will help power the both the track’s operations and FPL’s 4.7 million customers..

Once finished, the solar array will be one of the top five largest solar installations at professional sports venues in the U.S. The project’s total generating capacity will reach approximately 1.7 megawatts, one of the largest distributed solar installations in Florida.

In addition to generating zero-emissions energy, multiple canopy-like structures will also offer shade for fans. Locations of the solar panels will be on the front stretch, the Sprint FANZONE and in one of the Speedway’s parking lots.

Energy produced by the installation will prevent the emission of as much as 2,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, the same as a vehicle driving 2,000,000 laps around Daytona International Speedway.

FPL CEO Eric Silagy calls the Daytona Rising solar project “a shining example of our affordable, clean energy commitment and showcasing Florida’s innovation and advanced economy for the world.”

As part of a long-term partnership agreement, Florida-based NextEra Energy, which owns FPL, will be the Official Renewable Energy Provider of both Daytona International Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.  NextEra Energy Resources is also a sponsor of the annual 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, held during Budweiser Speedweeks, which ends this Sunday with the 200 lap, 500 mile Daytona 500..

“We’re very excited to continue our strong relationship with all of the NextEra Energy Companies,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III. “FPL’s solar energy solutions will help us create a modern and advanced motorsports stadium while improving the fan experience.”

The Daytona Rising project is part of an overall FPL strategy of tripling solar its capacity before the end of 2016, adding a total of more than 225 megawatts of new solar power in Florida. NextEra currently operates 110 megawatts of solar at three large-scale plants including the FPL Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center, part of a public-private partnership with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

 

Phil Ammann

Phil Ammann is a Tampa Bay-area journalist, editor and writer. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government, entertainment reviews, marketing and an advice column. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in Tampa with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached on Twitter @PhilAmmann or at [email protected]



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