ORLANDO – Six of the 16 Florida municipal electric utilities that are part of one of the largest municipal-backed solar projects in the nation reached a milestone in reducing power plant emissions after the first two solar sites in the Florida Municipal Solar Project completed their first year of operations. The group celebrated the milestone today with a tour of the Harmony Solar Energy Center, which provides 74.5 megawatts of emission-free energy.
“FMPA and its members are committed to providing clean energy with diverse fuel sources that ensure affordable and reliable electricity,” said Jacob Williams, general manager and CEO of the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA). “Over the last year, we took a major step forward in reducing emissions in a cost-effective way by bringing these two solar farms online.”
The Harmony Solar Energy Center in St. Cloud and the Taylor Creek Solar Energy Center in east Orange County near Wedgefield came online in June 2020 and provide zero-emissions energy to six Florida cities, including Fort Pierce, Jacksonville Beach, Key West, Kissimmee, Ocala and Orlando.
Project Provides Affordable Solar and Environmental Benefits
The large-scale solar project enables participants to provide solar energy to customers in the most cost-effective way. The cost of solar power from the project is approximately one-third the cost of a typical private, rooftop solar system.
Over the past year, the Harmony and Taylor Creek solar sites have generated more than 370,000 megawatt hours, enough energy to power approximately 31,576 homes per year. The sites have also reduced carbon emissions equivalent to:
- Eliminating 262,213 metric tons of carbon dioxide
- Taking more than 57,000 vehicles off the road annually
- Planting 4.3 million trees in 10 years
Additional Solar Sites on the Way
Participants of the Florida Municipals Solar Project plan to add three more solar farms. When the first two phases are complete in late 2023, the project will total approximately 1.5 million solar panels that will have the capability to generate nearly 375 megawatts on more than 3,000 acres of land. That is enough solar energy to power approximately 75,000 homes.
This is the first large utility-scale solar project for FMPA and its members. The 16 local utilities that will purchase power from the project include: Alachua, Bartow, Beaches Energy Services (Jacksonville Beach), Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, Havana, Homestead, Keys Energy Services (Key West), Kissimmee Utility Authority, Lake Worth Beach, Mount Dora, New Smyrna Beach, Newberry, Ocala, Orlando Utilities Commission, Wauchula and Winter Park. These cities are member-owners of FMPA along with 15 other municipal utilities.
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is overseeing HRK's efforts to mange water onsite by reinstating daily piping and trucking of water to nearby water treatment facilities, and enhancing ongoing water management and treatment efforts at the site. The priority remains to pursue all available water management tools to ensure safe storage capacities for rainfall during the next months to avoid the risk of uncontrolled or untreated discharges from the site.
HRK continues to manage rainwater runoff through its permitted outfalls to the drainage ditch along Buckeye Road. This is rainwater, not wastewater from the compartment areas onsite. Samples of the stormwater are collected by HRK daily to ensure it meets the requirements of HRK’s discharge permit and water quality standards.
Key status updates and response activities: