Duke Energy to start construction on floating solar pilot

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Duke Energy Florida says construction on a floating solar array pilot will begin later this month in Polk County.

The almost 1-megawatt floating solar array will feature more than 1,800 floating solar modules and occupy approximately 2 acres of water surface on an existing cooling pond at the Duke Energy Hines Energy Complex in Bartow.

“We’re excited to get hands-on experience with Duke Energy Florida’s first floating solar project at one of our own power plant sites,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “Unique pilots like floating solar are helping us better understand the capabilities of innovative clean energy technologies that can benefit our Florida customers and communities now and in the future.”

Crews will construct and assemble the module floating system on land in segments before securing it with anchors in the water. The project will take approximately five to six months.

The pilot is part of Duke Energy’s Vision Florida program, which is designed to test innovative projects such as microgrids and battery energy storage, among others, to prepare the power grid for a clean energy future.

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns 10,500 megawatts of energy capacity, supplying electricity to 1.9 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across a 13,000-square-mile service area in Florida.

Duke Energy is headquartered in Charlotte and serves 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity.

The company has interim carbon emission targets of at least 50 per cent reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040.

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