LAKELAND, FL (October 10, 2012) – Lakeland Electric and solar partner SunEdison will celebrate Phase II of the solar farm located on the southwest corner of the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport with a “Flip the Switch Ceremony” on Monday, October 15th at 1 p.m. The public is invited to attend this ceremony as Lakeland Electric flips the switch to energize the system at 4250 Hamilton Road. Those attending are reminded that the event is outside on an unpaved area so please dress accordingly.
Phase II of the project generates 3 Megawatts of Energy through 12,528 solar panels. The entire system is expected to produce 5,316,220 kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean solar energy in the first year of operation and more than 121 million kilowatt hours (kWh) over 25 years. Phase I and Phase II contain over 22,000 solar panels in total on more than 40 acres of land.
Joel Ivy, General Manager of Lakeland Electric said, “The 5.3 MWac solar farm was made possible through a strategic solar power service agreement between SunEdison and Lakeland Electric. In the agreement SunEdison will finance and deploy the solar farm with no upfront costs from Lakeland Electric.” He added, “It’s a win-win because we add a valuable renewable energy source without the upfront cost of construction.” Lakeland Electric will purchase the power produced at the solar farm at long-term fixed rates for 25 years—adding to Lakeland’s energy mix while helping to improve the environment.
City of Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields said, “While our partnership with SunEdison is probably the largest and most visible green effort from Lakeland Electric, as a municipal government we have been installing more energy-efficient lights in our buildings, we have moved to LED traffic signals and we have converted to more energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in our larger facilities.” He added, “We have no intention of stopping here. As a utility, we are already working toward additional large scale solar projects.”
Over 25 years, the solar farm will produce enough clean energy to power more than 15,500 Lakeland homes for one year. In that same amount of time, the solar farm will offset more than 167 million pounds of carbon dioxide – equivalent to removing more than 25,000 cars from the road for one year.
The 40-acre solar farm located on the airport property is not the first photovoltaic project by Lakeland Electric. In 2009 over 1,230 solar panels were installed on the roof of The Lakeland Center; the City owned and operated multi-function facility. This roof top installation that covers approximately one acre generates a total of 283,360 watts per year and this solar energy goes directly into the electric grid benefitting all of Lakeland Electric’s customers.
Lakeland Electric is the third largest public power utility in the State of Florida. The utility is also one of the first utilities established in Florida having started operation in 1889. Today, power is generated at Lakeland Electric’s two main power plants, the 941-megawatt McIntosh Power Plant and the 176-megawatt Larsen Power Plant.