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Duke Energy Florida brings 17-acre Osceola County solar power plant online

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Osceola County commissioners will celebrate the newest Duke Energy solar plant providing Central Florida consumers clean, renewable power.

The Osceola Solar Facility, owned and operated by Duke Energy, contains 15,000 solar panels and is roughly the size of 13 football fields. The plant, which officially began operation May 12, produces nearly 4 megawatts of carbon-free energy.

The solar plant will be honored at the Aug. 1 Osceola County Commission meeting, according to a Duke Energy news release. At 1:30 p.m., Duke Energy representatives and commissioners will hold an event to sign a commemorative solar panel.

The panel will be on display at the commission office at 1 Courthouse Square, Room 4700 in Kissimmee.

“As the cost of solar energy continues to decrease and the efficiency of panels grows, we’re increasing our investments in solar,” said Duke Energy Florida state President Alex Glenn. “It’s part of our ongoing strategy to offer clean energy and provide customers more options to use renewable energy.”

Advanced Green Technologies designed and built the solar plant on 17 acres next to an existing Kenansville Duke Energy substation.

“When you say Kenansville, people automatically think agriculture. Now they can think technology, too. Solar is a new type of ‘farming’ for my district — one with a positive environmental impact,” said Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins Jr. “Adding a renewable source like solar gives Duke Energy customers a more balanced energy mix and that’s more important today than ever before.”

The solar power plant is one of the preliminary stages in a long-term plan by the utility to install 35 megawatts of solar by 2018, providing 500 megawatts of solar energy in Florida by 2024. Construction is scheduled for completion in August at the 5-megawatt solar plant in Perry (Taylor County). That project will be officially announced and mid-October.

Duke Energy Florida is supplementing its own solar production by helping nearly 90 residential and business customers a month install solar panels, as well as develop a renewables service center to allow customers to interconnect. The company is also a variety of designs to promote solar generation in Florida.

The goal of such projects, like the Osceola and Perry solar plants, will help increase the usage of renewables. A single megawatt from the large-scale solar plants is equivalent to about 200 standard residential rooftop systems.

Duke Energy has spent more than $4 billion on wind and solar facilities in the past eight years, throughout 12 states.

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