Duke Energy has taken a significant step forward in its commitment to renewable energy by commissioning its first floating solar project in Florida. The floating solar array is located at the Duke Energy Hines Energy Complex in Bartow, and has a capacity of almost 1 MW.

Constructed on a two-acre cooling pond, the solar project comprises over 1,800 bifacial solar panels, which are capable of generating 10%-20% more electricity than single-sided panels due to their ability to capture light on both sides. This innovative approach to maximizing energy production is a testament to Duke Energy’s ongoing commitment to driving renewable energy solutions.

The construction of the solar project commenced in March 2023 and it was successfully commissioned on December 14, 2023. The process involved assembling the panels on land in sections and anchoring them in water, taking about six months in total to complete and connect to the electrical grid.

The pilot project is part of Duke Energy’s Vision Florida program, an initiative that aims to experiment with new technologies like green hydrogen and various battery storage systems. The ultimate goal is to prepare the power grid for a future that is powered by more sustainable and cleaner energy sources.

Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president, spoke on the company’s green initiatives: “We are committed to building a smarter, cleaner energy future for our customers while continuing to look for ways to maintain affordability and reliability. By exploring alternative solutions on a smaller scale and on our own property, we are maximizing the space and expanding our use and knowledge of innovative emission-free technologies that will move us forward on our path to net-zero carbon emissions.”

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, boasts a capacity of 10,500 MW of energy, serving 1.9 million homes, businesses, and industries in a 13,000-square-mile region in Florida.

The commissioning of this floating solar project aligns with Duke Energy’s ongoing commitment to solar energy development in Florida, which dates back to the late 1980s. The company’s plans include having 25 grid-tied solar power plants in operation by 2024, providing around 1,500 MW of emission-free power to its 1.9 million customers in Florida.

In addition to these initiatives, Duke Energy is also passing around $56 million in annual corporate tax savings to its Florida customers due to the Inflation Reduction Act, demonstrating its ongoing investment in solar energy and commitment to customer affordability.

Image source: Offshore Energy