Florida resort owner deploys 1.51 MW of solar arrays


Legacy Vacation Resorts, an Orlando, Florida-based resort property owner, will take advantage of its home state’s namesake of abundant sun after activating four rooftop and ground-mounted solar systems in central Florida. The arrays are expected to produce over 2 million kWh per year.

Optimus Energy Solutions, a Mount Dora, Florida-based solar, storage and EV charging installer, deployed the four solar arrays located in Kissimmee (760 kW), Lake Buena Vista (147 kW), Clearwater (205 kW) and Palm Coast (402 kW).

Ben Pauluhn, president of Optimus Energy, told pv magazine USA that the majority of modules were installed on vacation property rooftops, while about 35 kW of the portfolio was installed on the ground adjacent to the buildings.

The Florida resort installations utilized 3,700 domestically-assembled JinkoSolar 410 W modules, single- and three-phased SolarEdge inverters, and Ironridge racking hardware, Pauluhn said. Greentech Renewables provided distribution solutions for the projects’ assembly, he added.

Each solar installation is located on a separate utility grid territory in Florida, while each installation qualifies for full net metering under current Florida law, Pauluhn said.

Climate First Bank, a St. Petersburg, Florida-based community lender, has committed project financing to the resort property solar portfolio. Formed in 2020, the bank has funded solar photovoltaic, energy retrofits and energy transition infrastructure, according to its website.

“As a certified B Corp, Legacy Vacation Resorts strives to not only operate a profitable business, but to use our power to create positive social and environmental change in the world,” said Alex Smith, chief operating officer, Legacy Vacation. “Investing in solar energy in partnership with Optimus Energy Solutions provides an extremely effective way to positively impact our environment and generate a financial return for the company.”

Legacy Vacation operates eight properties in Florida, Nevada, Colorado and New Jersey. The company said in its 2022 annual report to stakeholders that since 2018, its operations have achieved an 8% reduction of its carbon footprint, conducted a sustainability audit and planned on-site solar projects.

With the 1.51 MW of on-site solar projects, Legacy Vacation will generate 40% of its electricity from renewable energy. The company has a goal of becoming net zero with all of its properties using renewable energy by 2030. According to its 2022 report, the company anticipates generating the remainder of its clean energy from utility-purchased energy, offsite projects and community solar projects.

Legacy Vacation has EV charging stations at each of its property locations and is evaluating on-site energy storage as well, Pauluhn said.

The resort owner’s Brigantine, N.J. facility purchases annual renewable energy certificates (REC) to offset its carbon footprint, said the annual benefits report. Besides onsite solar and RECs, Legacy Vacation is partnered with nonprofit We Are Neutral to fund energy efficiency upgrades in low-income Florida communities, plant native trees, practice urban agriculture and capture landfill methane gas.

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