Tampa Electric installing solar panels on Bay area’s largest solar project
TAMPA, November 3, 2016
Tampa Electric is making steady progress on constructing the Tampa Bay area’s largest solar energy array, as it has begun installing the project’s first solar panels.
The 23-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic array will include more than 200,000 thin-film solar panels on 106 acres of company-owned land at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach. It is scheduled to be complete in early 2017. The solar project is Tampa Electric’s largest and will have the capacity to power nearly 3,300 homes. The site is located east of Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center (MVC) and the Florida Conservation and Technology Center, which is currently in development.
“This investment in large-scale solar using the latest technology further demonstrates our commitment to clean energy,” said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric. “We’re also taking advantage of declining solar prices and the land we own at Big Bend to make this project more cost-competitive – so we can continue to deliver affordable and reliable energy to our 730,000 customers.”
The Big Bend installation is the third large-scale solar project for Tampa Electric since 2015. The first, a 2-MW facility on the top floor of Tampa International Airport’s south economy parking garage, produces enough electricity to power up to 250 homes. Earlier this fall, construction began on Tampa Electric’s 1.8-MW solar facility at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort; it is scheduled to be complete this year.
Tampa Electric has invested more than $50 million in large-scale solar installations. Since 2000, customers have been able to voluntarily purchase renewable energy from the company’s other solar arrays at LEGOLAND Florida, the Florida Aquarium, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, the Museum of Science and Industry, the MVC and two schools.
Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves more than 730,000 customers in West Central Florida. Tampa Electric is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.