Tampa Electric to build its third large-scale solar array
1.8-Megawatt LEGOLAND project will be Tampa Electric's first in Polk County
TAMPA, April 21, 2016
This year, Tampa Electric will build a 1.8-megawatt solar project at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort that will produce electricity – and shade – for visitors at the popular vacation destination.
Tampa Electric will install a canopy of solar panels over the preferred parking lot, adjacent to the iconic theme park entrance, one of several "green” initiatives under way at the resort. The project is being announced as part of an Earth Day commemoration at the Winter Haven resort.
"We're honored that Tampa Electric approached us to host this large-scale project,” said Adrian Jones, general manager of LEGOLAND Florida Resort, "since the new installation ties directly to our sustainability efforts. The solar panels will also enhance the experience of our guests by providing shade for more than 600 vehicles.”
The system will be about the same size as the large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) installation Tampa Electric completed at Tampa International Airport in December 2015. The system at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is expected to produce enough electricity to power more than 200 homes.
Tampa Electric will own the PV array, and the electricity it produces will go to the grid, benefiting the company's more than 725,000 customers, including LEGOLAND Florida Resort. Construction is scheduled to begin this spring and is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.
"LEGOLAND Florida Resort has been an outstanding partner in our ongoing efforts to expand solar energy for our customers,” said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric. "We're proud to make it the home of our first large-scale solar installation in Polk County.”
Last fall, Tampa Electric announced plans to build the largest solar project in the Tampa Bay area. Construction will soon begin on a 23-MW facility that will feature more than 200,000 solar panels on 125 acres of company-owned land at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach. That solar project will be the largest ever built by Tampa Electric and will have the capacity to power more than 3,300 homes.
Tampa Electric's new system at LEGOLAND Florida Resort will join a 30-kilowatt (kW) PV installation already in its theme park. In 2014, the company installed solar panels atop Imagination Zone, a large, indoor attraction filled with hands-on activities for kids. It was one of seven PV arrays installed across West Central Florida that were funded through Tampa Electric's Renewable Energy program.
As part of a commitment to renewable energy, LEGOLAND Florida Resort purchases blocks of renewable energy from the Tampa Electric Renewable Energy program to power Imagination Zone, where kids can learn about all forms of energy. Since May 2014, the park has purchased 308,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy, enough to offset the same amount of carbon dioxide as planting 61 acres of trees. In addition, the resort has purchased enough renewable energy to power the entire theme park on Earth Day for the past three years.
Tampa Electric's Renewable Energy program makes it easy for customers to purchase a portion of their electricity from renewable sources by signing up for $5 blocks of renewable energy. For each block purchased, Tampa Electric provides 200 kWh of renewable energy. There is also an option to power a one-time event with renewable energy. In 2015 alone, Tampa Electric customers purchased almost 7 million kWh of renewable energy – enough to power more than 500 homes for one year.
Tampa Electric, one of Florida's largest investor-owned electric utilities, is part of the TECO Energy family of companies. Tampa Electric serves nearly 725,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE) is an energy-related holding company with regulated electric and gas utilities in Florida and New Mexico: Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas System and New Mexico Gas Co.