Tampa Electric, subsidiary of TECO Energy (NYSE: TE), today announced
the utility will build the largest solar project in the Tampa Bay area.
The 25-megawatt (MW) facility will feature more than 70,000 solar panels
on 125 acres of company-owned land at the Big
Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach. Scheduled to be completed in
2016, the solar project will be the largest ever built by Tampa Electric
and have the capacity to power more than 3,500 homes.
“Tampa Electric has a long history of pursuing and supporting solar
power,” said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric and Peoples
Gas. “With this project, we will have invested more than $50 million in
solar since 2000. We’re pleased to be able to demonstrate our commitment
to providing our customers with more renewable energy by taking
advantage of declining solar system prices and the land we own at Big
“This large-scale facility will benefit our more than 700,000 customers
and showcase how a diversified mix of energy resources delivers
affordable and reliable energy to meet Florida’s electricity needs now
and in the future,” added Gillette.
Hillsborough County Commission Chair Sandy Murman said, “Siting this
solar project at Big Bend is certain to increase the visibility and
understanding of solar power in the Tampa Bay area. I commend Tampa
Electric for their vision and long-standing commitment to the
environment and community.”
The Big Bend site includes Tampa Electric’s Manatee
Viewing Center (MVC), which has hosted more than 4.3 million
visitors since it opened in 1986. That number will increase with
construction underway at the Florida
Conservation and Technology Center just south of the property.
The Big Bend installation is the second large-scale solar project being
built by Tampa Electric. The first, a 2-MW
facility at Tampa International Airport, is under construction on
the top floor of the airport’s south economy parking garage. Scheduled
to be completed by the end of the year, it will be able to produce
enough electricity to power up to 250 homes, or roughly the equivalent
of the airport’s new 1.4-mile automated people mover.
The large-scale solar installations at Big Bend and Tampa International
Airport highlight Tampa Electric’s commitment to clean energy and
complement the utility’s existing solar systems that since 2000 have
allowed customers to voluntarily purchase renewable
energy. Today, the company has installed solar systems at LEGOLAND
Florida, the Florida Aquarium, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, the Museum of
Science and Industry, the MVC, and two schools (Walker Middle School and
Middleton High School). Tampa Electric plans to install another solar PV
system as part of its Renewable Energy program this year.
The 25-MW solar facility at Big Bend will further reduce Tampa
Electric’s overall carbon dioxide emissions. The utility is an industry
leader in emissions
reductions, having completed a $1.2 billion agreement to
dramatically reduce overall emissions.
Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric
utilities, is part of the TECO Energy family of companies. Tampa
Electric serves more than 700,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO
Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE) is an energy-related holding company with
regulated electric and gas utilities in Florida and New Mexico: Tampa
Gas System and New
Mexico Gas Co. Other TECO Energy subsidiaries include TECO
Coal, which owns and operates coal-production facilities in
Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.
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