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Orlando Sentinel: Orlando, Winter Park, other cities plug solar project as one of nation’s biggest

Friday, May 04, 2018

By Kevin Spear

Orlando’s electric utility and 11 other municipal power providers unveiled details Friday about their agreement to back a trio of enormous solar plants, which will include 900,000 panels that will be erected on nearly two square miles.

With one plant expected to be built in east Orange County and the other two in Osceola County, each would be as massive as those now pursued by the state’s biggest utility, Florida Power & Light Co.

Orlando Utilities Commission’s general manager and chief executive officer, Clint Bullock, said the cooperation among the city utilities from Key West to Winter Park to Jacksonville Beach is vital in an industry dominated by privately owned utilities.

“We have to keep working together,” Bullock said. “Our size is who we are. To continue to be relevant, we must work together and find economies of scale.”

Their common link is being among 31 city utilities that own the Orlando-based Florida Municipal Power Agency, which generates electricity and facilitated the solar deal.

Billing the solar project as one of the nation’s largest by public utilities, participants are contracting with NextEra Florida Renewables LLC of the corporate family that includes Florida Power & Light Co.

NextEra will own and run the plants, selling the power to the cities at a guaranteed price.

The three solar plants would began to provide electricity in two years for as many as 45,000 “typical” Florida homes.

Project details were announced at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa.


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