Duke Energy Florida has announced completion of the 8.8 MW Suwannee Solar Facility, which contains nearly 44,000 solar panels on 70 acres in Suwannee County.
Elected officials and community leaders will join the utility at a commemorative ribbon-cutting and panel-signing ceremony on Dec. 14 to celebrate the opening. The facility is located at 4020 River Rd. in Live Oak, Fla., just east of the existing Suwannee natural gas power plant.
“We are proud of our newest solar power plant and excited about our future solar development in Florida,” says Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida state president. “In the next four years, we will be adding up to 700 MW of new solar generation as part of our ongoing strategy to offer cleaner, smarter energy solutions that customers value in the Sunshine State.”
Although it retired three old natural gas units at the Suwannee power plant in December 2016, the utility says three other 1980s-era natural gas units, capable of generating 155 MW, remain in operation on the plant site as part of the system that supplies extra energy when demand from customers is the greatest.
Under a settlement agreement approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, the utility will be adding up to 700 MW of solar over the next four years, accelerating the company’s previous 10-year solar installation plan. The company plans to begin construction of its sixth Florida solar power plant, to be located in Hamilton County, in 2018. The 74.9 MW plant will have approximately 300,000 solar panels and will be built on nearly 550 acres of land in Jasper.