Mar 14, 2010

Orlando Utility is trying solar power

OUC, the main electric utility for the geography covered by the city of Orlando, is diving into solar electric power generation. They have hired a contractor to place 2 solar farms of over 50,000 panels of 185 watts each on property they own.

Here are some important points from an Orlando Sentinel article(OUC's Solar genesis-3-4-10 by Kevin Spear)on these solar farms:

Why do this:
"Szaro(OUC spokesperson) said OUC is pursuing solar for several reasons, including a need to figure out how to integrate a big array of panels with the safety and monitoring systems of an electricity grid now serving more than 260,000 customers."


As with utilities throughout the nation, the city-owned utility anticipates government mandates for renewable and clean energy in response to concerns about climate change. Solar power is a leading option in Florida.

What is the cost:
In OUC's favor, the price of panels is falling. The cost per watt is now below $2(down from $3.40 recently)

Who will operate the farm:
OUC won't own or run the solar-energy system, preferring to leave those functions with Regenesis(the contractor it hired) because private companies can tap significant federal assistance. Instead, the utility will pay a guaranteed rate for electricity from the solar system.

How much power will be produced:
OUC's solar-power arrays will have the capacity to produce more than nine megawatts of electricity, or enough to meet the demand of about 1,000 homes.

What other large solar-electric farm projects are under way in Florida:
Florida Power & Light started up a 25-megawatt solar plant in South Florida last year and will soon finish a 10-megawatt plant at Kennedy Space Center.

The shining light we take out of the above is seeing a well run and forward thinking utility as OUC is realize that the climate change controls that governments will begin to insist on will make the former coal and natural gas method of powering generation less profitable than it has been in the past. So we see a major industrial company planning for a future where the environment is dictating rather than some oil and gas potentate. You would think that is something that those from any political party would be proud and happy about(unless maybe if you are from a coal or natural gas producing state?)

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