Duke Energy Florida is embarking on an experimental venture in clean energy technology with the construction of its first floating solar pilot project in Polk County. The endeavor will see over 1,800 floating solar modules occupying approximately 2 acres of water surface on an existing cooling pond at the Duke Energy Hines Energy Complex in Bartow.
According to a press release from the Charlotte, North Carolina-based energy utility, “Crews will construct and assemble the module floating system on land in segments before securing it with anchors in the water. The project will take approximately five to six months.”
Fox 13’s Ken Suarez spoke to Duke project manager Shayna White. “Other countries are doing it extensively, so we’re trying it out here to see if we can do it on a larger scale in operational use in the future,” said project manager, Shayna White.”
The water from the pond, a former phosphate pit, was only being used to cool the power plant. Now it will also be used to cool the solar panels which could make them more efficient.
At its current size, the solar farm will produce enough electricity to provide power to 100 homes.
The project is expected to be fully functional and produce power by late summer.