Researching the benefits of plugging into the sun


The solar panels at Eastern Service Area will be elevated, similar to those at LEGOLAND Florida pictured here.

Demolition is underway at Tampa Electric’s Eastern Service Area in Tampa – the first step towards building the state’s first Integrated Renewable Energy System or what some are calling a solar canopy. Approved by the Florida Public Service Commission in July, the solar canopy system will integrate three elevated solar arrays with a generating capacity of 800 kilowatts. It will include battery storage capable of reserving 1,000 kilowatts of power from the sun and several electric vehicle (EV) and industrial truck battery charging stations.

One solar array will cover the existing parking area and include several EV charging stations to charge Tampa Electric’s growing fleet of plug-in EVs. Another solar array will include ten standard outlets to charge Tampa Electric’s fleet of 11 battery-powered bucket trucks. The third array will be located over an existing employee parking area.

Why are we investing in a solar canopy?

“The solar canopy will become a fully functional research showpiece that we can invite other fleet operators from across the state to visit,” said Carlos Aldazabal, director, Transmission & Shared Services. Collectively, the three arrays will generate enough solar power to charge the company’s EVs, battery bucket trucks and the battery storage system. The main purpose of the pilot project is to evaluate how we can leverage and optimize the use of solar arrays and battery storage, along with our fleet of EV to help increase the supply of electricity during the time of day when demand for electric is high. The ability to do this benefits all customers because it eliminates the need to invest and build new generation assets. Tampa Electric’s Energy Management Team will monitor the system over the five-year period to evaluate the capabilities of the system and share findings with commercial or industrial customers, including fleet operators that may benefit by installing this technology.

Tampa Electric’s growing fleet of EVs

We’re using solar energy to charge our EV fleet.

“Tampa Electric’s EV fleet is about to expand,” said Gerald Brigham, manager, Fleet Services. “We’ll add 14 all-electric Chevy Bolts this month and 12 bucket trucks with JEMS advanced battery technology around March 2021.” The JEMS technology eliminates the need for the truck’s diesel engines to elevate the bucket as well as provides battery powered cabin cooling. Instead, each truck’s 48-volt battery system produces more than enough power to elevate the bucket and cool the trucks. This reduces unwelcome noise and reduces emissions. Visit to learn more about the company’s fleet and the benefits of driving electric.