Disney’s utility signs power contract for 50 MW-AC of solar

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These days it seems everyone in Florida is doing utility-scale solar. Earlier this month Blattner completed the first 298 MW-AC tranche of solar projects that Florida Power and Light has commissioned, Coronal has completed 120 MW-AC of solar for Gulf Power, Jacksonville’s utility plans to install another 250 MW of solar by 2020, and last summer Duke Energy Florida agreed to build 700 MW of solar and 50 MW of energy storage.

Everyone, including Disney World. Yesterday Origis Energy announced that it has secured a power contract with the public-private partnership which was created to “support and administer certain aspects of the economic development and tourism” in the area around Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for the output of a 50 MW-AC solar project.

To meet the needs of the Mickey Mouse-tourism complex, Origis plans to install 518,000 PV modules on single axis trackers on 270 acres in Orange County, Florida. These in turn will connect to the Reedy Creek Improvement District grid, which is essentially Disney’s semi-public power system that spans parts of Orange and Osceola Counties.

Origis expects to begin work on the project by late spring 2018 and complete the project by the end of this year. The company estimates that the project will create up to 300 jobs.

The announcement was made nine days before President Trump’s January 26 deadline to impose his decision on the Section 201 trade case, although he can have up to an additional 90 days if he chooses to pursue a “negotiated settlement”. It shows that even with the significant impact of the uncertainty around a Section 201 decision, the market for new power contracts has not entirely dried up.