Duke Energy commissions its first floating solar project in Florida

Duke Energy has commissioned its first floating solar project in Florida, located at the Duke Energy Hines Energy Complex in Bartow, which has a capacity of almost 1 MW.

Source: Duke Energy

The project consists of an almost 1 MW solar array that floats on a two-acre cooling pond. The array is made up of over 1,800 bifacial solar panels, said to be able to generate 10%-20% more electricity than single-sided panels as they capture light on both sides.

Duke Energy began the construction of the project in March 2023.

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On December 14, 2023, Duke Energy reported the commissioning of this project, which involved assembling the panels on land in sections and anchoring them in water. The process took about six months to complete and connect to the electrical grid.

The pilot project is a component of Duke Energy’s Vision Florida program which aims to experiment with new technologies like green hydrogen and different battery storage systems. The goal is to ready the power grid for a future with a more sustainable and cleaner energy future.

Additionally, the company earlier announced its plan to develop a green hydrogen production and storage facility linked to a solar site in Volusia County, Florida.

“We are committed to building a smarter, cleaner energy future for our customers while continuing to look for ways to maintain affordability and reliability,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. 

“By exploring alternative solutions on a smaller scale and on our own property, we are maximizing the space and expanding our use and knowledge of innovative emission-free technologies that will move us forward on our path to net-zero carbon emissions.”

Duke Energy Florida, a branch of Duke Energy, has 10,500 MW of energy capacity, serving 1.9 million homes, businesses, and industries in a 13,000-square-mile region in Florida.

Duke Energy has been involved in solar energy development in Florida since the late 1980s. The company’s plans included having 25 grid-tied solar power plants in operation by 2024, providing around 1,500 MW of emission-free power to its 1.9 million customers in Florida.

The company also noted that it is passing around $56 million in annual corporate tax savings to its Florida customers due to the Inflation Reduction Act, as a part of its ongoing investment in solar energy.

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