On May 4, OUC joined 11 municipal utilities from across Florida to ceremonially sign an agreement at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa to build three massive solar farms. The groundbreaking agreement allows for 900,000 solar panels to provide energy for as many as 45,000 homes stretching from Jacksonville Beach all the way to the Florida Keys.
Using state-of-the-art technology, the arrays will be able to move through the day to maximize the sun’s output. Three solar sites, located on 1,200 acres in rural Orange and Osceola counties, will provide 223.5 megawatts. OUC will be the largest tenant, purchasing 108.5 megawatts of solar energy, or enough for more than 20,000 residential customers.
“OUC could have done this on its own, but by partnering with other municipal utilities we can make a dramatic difference not just in Central Florida, but really throughout the entire state,” said Clint Bullock, OUC General Manager & CEO. “We can leverage the economies of scale to bring the price of solar down to a point where a dozen municipal utilities can afford to sign on and I believe this is something people around the country will take notice of.”
OUC customers, who want solar energy, but may not own their own homes or are unable to put panels on their roof, can purchase energy from the new project through OUC’s Community Solar program. The remaining power from the new project will be purchased by Florida Municipal Power Agency member cities from NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC.
OUC has committed to a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with two five-year extensions.
The solar farms are expected to be complete by 2020 and exact locations in Orange and Osceola counties are still being finalized through a permitting process.