The thick fog hanging over West Central Florida last Wednesday morning didn’t put a damper on representatives from TECO and LEGOLAND® Florida, the mayor of Winter Haven and others from gathering to flip the switch on Tampa Electric’s second large-scale solar installation located at LEGOLAND Florida. By the time the event kicked off at 9 o’clock, the sun was shining bright over the more than 5,000 solar panels that make up the 1.8 megawatt system.
Installed over the resort’s preferred parking lot, the installation provides shade to more than 600 vehicles and generates enough electricity to power more than 200 homes. “We are proud to be a partner with LEGOLAND Florida Resort on this project,” said Gordon Gillette, president and CEO of Tampa Electric. “This is an exciting example of how community partners can work together to demonstrate the benefits of solar energy and the role it plays in our energy future.”
A project of this size requires a lot of planning and engineering. From day one, Nathan Kirkconnell, project manager for Tampa Electric was responsible for making sure the project stayed on track. “It’s more than just solar panels, it’s an investment in our future” said Kirkconnell. “We sunk more than 200 steel columns into the ground to support the system – that’s more than 500,000 pounds to steel.” The installation is designed to withstand wind gusts of up to 140 miles per hour and was completed in just under four months.
The LEGOLAND system is similar in size to the large-scale system that was installed last year at Tampa International Airport. “As the cost of solar continues to decrease, it makes perfect sense for Tampa Electric to continue investing in this technology that turns the sun – the perfect renewable resource – into electricity,” said Chip Whitworth, project lead for Tampa Electric.
And that’s just what Tampa Electric is doing. In early 2017, Tampa Electric will complete installation of its largest solar installation ever in Apollo Beach. Rated at 23 megawatts, the system will consist of more than 200,000 solar panels and generate enough power to run more than 3,300 homes.
Visit tampaelectric.com/solar to learn about all our solar installations. While there, sign up to participate in our Renewable Energy program and join others who are supporting the use of renewable sources to generate electricity.