Duke Energy Florida is continuing their mission to bring cleaner, cost-effective energy to consumers, breaking ground on several new solar sites in the Sunshine State.
The company made the announcement on Tuesday, stating that they would be constructing new solar power facilities in Manatee and Hardee counties. The new sites, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021, is expected to create approximately 200 to 300 temporary jobs. Additionally, the plants will generate quiet, carbon free energy that will bring tax benefits to the counties.
The Florida utility company, a subsidiary of Duke Energy headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, also announced that they will begin construction on an additional solar facility in Bay County by mid-year.
Melissa Seixas, who was recently appointed to serve as President of Duke Energy Florida, says that the new construction is only the beginning of Duke’s vision to bring greener and more affordable energy to the nearly 2 million customers they supply service to across the state.
“Duke Energy Florida is delivering on what customers want: innovative, affordable and sustainable clean energy solutions,” said Seixas. “We are committed to environmental stewardship and more fuel diversity. Customers can expect us to continue our expansion of solar energy for many years to come.
Today’s announcement is just one component of a larger undertaking by the Florida-based utility company to invest in modernizing and bolstering the state’s solar grid. Part of their energy makeover includes investing an estimated $1 billion to construct or acquire a total of 700 megawatts of cost-effective solar power facilities in Florida from 2018 through 2022. The massive proposal is expected to pay dividends for the company later this year, when two new plants — located in Hamilton and Columbia counties — go online in June.
In total, the project is expected to more than quadruple the amount of in-service solar on the system over the next four years.
In addition to the Duke’s state-wide solar plant campaign, the company announced a cost-saving solar initiative earlier this year that will allow some customers to voluntarily pay more upfront — in return for future bill credits — in order to help finance similar projects. The utility argues that their “Clean Energy Connection Program” will benefit all of its customers because the solar projects would ultimately reduce the need to build costly natural-gas plants and would help reduce carbon emissions.