Seminole Electric announces 2.2-megawatt “Cooperative Solar” project
Today, Monday, March 21, 2016, Seminole Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Seminole) announced that it has finalized agreements for a 2.2-megawatt solar facility to be constructed at an existing Seminole owned site in Hardee County. This facility will be an important part of an expanding renewable energy portfolio at the cooperative.
“I am proud to announce today that we are adding a new solar facility to our renewable energy mix,” said Lisa Johnson, Seminole’s CEO and General Manager. “The Seminole solar facility and our “Cooperative Solar” approach will further demonstrate our strong commitments to our Members, to their end-use consumers, and to the environment. Seminole works to be good stewards for all three.”
Based in Tampa, Florida, Seminole is one of the largest generation and transmission cooperatives in the country. Its mission is to provide reliable, competitively priced, wholesale electric power to its nine not-for-profit, consumer-owned distribution electric cooperatives. Seminole and its Members collectively serve 1.6 million individuals and businesses in 42 Florida counties.
“The new facility will feature more than 8,400 single-axis tracking solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which rotate to follow the movement of the sun throughout the day. This rotation will allow for approximately 20 percent more output, compared with fixed solar arrays, or panels that do not move,” said Glenn Spurlock, Seminole’s Manager of Development.
PV panels are composed of numerous PV cells made of silicon and other semiconducting materials that convert energy from sunlight into electricity. Solar projects such as Cooperative Solar are optimal for consumers who want solar power but live in a multifamily dwelling, do not have a suitable roof or installation site, or do not have the financial resources to afford the upfront costs associated with installing solar panels at their homes or businesses. Utility scale solar deployments like Seminole’s solar facility will allow more individuals to use solar power at a lower cost per consumer.
Radiance Solar, LLC, based in Atlanta, Georgia is engineering and constructing the solar project in conjunction with Seminole. According to Spurlock, “Construction will begin in the Second quarter of 2016, and the output from the solar facility is scheduled to come online before the end of this year.”
Seminole will operate, maintain, and have rights to the full output of the facility, financed with Farm Credit Leasing Services, through a net-lease agreement.
The new solar facility will be located in Hardee County at Seminole’s existing natural gas-fired power plant site. Another example of Seminole’s environmental stewardship, the facilities at Seminole’s site, soon to include solar panels, sit on abandoned phosphate mines that were remediated into a diverse and thriving 1,300-acre ecosystem.
Seminole currently provides renewable energy generated from a variety of sources, including waste-to-energy, landfill gas-to-energy, and biomass facilities. Seminole’s Cooperative Solar project will add to this diverse energy mix. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of Seminole Electric Cooperative,” Johnson said. “I believe solar energy has an important role in the future of our industry and the future of Seminole.”
Seminole’s nine member-owned distribution cooperatives are:
- Central Florida Electric Cooperative, Chiefland, FL
- Clay Electric Cooperative, Keystone Heights, FL
- Glades Electric Cooperative, Moore Haven, FL
- Peace River Electric Cooperative, Wauchula, FL
- SECO Energy, Sumterville, FL
- Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative, Live Oak, FL
- Talquin Electric Cooperative, Quincy, FL
- Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Madison, FL
- Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, Dade City, FL
Seminole Electric is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Seminole Electric Cooperative may sell a portion of the renewable energy credits associated with its renewable generation to third parties. The third parties can use the credits to meet mandatory or voluntary renewable requirements.