Float on: Duke Energy completes first floating solar project in Florida

Duke floating solar array

Duke Energy’s first floating solar project in Florida is now in operation. The almost 1 MW floating solar array features more than 1,800 solar panels that float on top of 2 acres of water surface on an existing cooling pond at the company’s Hines Energy Complex in Bartow, Fla.

The pilot project produces renewable energy while helping the Duke Energy better understand the capabilities of this innovative technology aimed at benefiting Florida customers and communities. The bifacial solar panels absorb light from both sides, which can produce 10%-20% more power than their single-sided counterparts.

Crews assembled the module floating system on land in segments before securing it with anchors in the water. The project took approximately six months to construct and connect to the grid.

The pilot is part of Duke Energy’s Vision Florida program, which is designed to test innovative projects such as green hydrogen, hydrogen produced from sources other than fossil fuels, and various battery energy storage technologies, to prepare the power grid for a cleaner energy future.

Last month, the company announced plans to build a one-of-its-kind green hydrogen production and storage system connected to its existing solar site in Volusia County.

“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 has been harnessing the power of the sun and advancing solar technologies in Florida since the late 1980s. The company plans to have 25 grid-tied solar power plants in operation in 2024. The sites will provide about 1,500 MW of emission-free generation and benefit all of the company’s 1.9 million Florida customers.

As a result of the company’s continued commitment to solar investments, Duke Energy is already passing approximately $56 million of corporate tax savings annually to Florida customers from the Inflation Reduction Act.

To view a video and read more about the project, visit https://illumination.duke-energy.com/articles/a-new-way-to-harness-the-suns-power.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company has interim carbon emission targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear. 

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