Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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County/North Florida News

FPL Officially Unveils Columbia County's First Solar Power Plant

Area students at FPL solar farm

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – At 10 am yesterday morning, Florida Power & Light (FPL) officially unveiled its Columbia County 300,000 solar panel solar farm. The plant generates enough zero-emissions electricity to power approximately 15,000 Florida homes.

Attending the event were FPL's president and CEO Eric Silagy, Audubon Florida's executive director Julie Wraithmell, and Columbia County's Econ. Dev. Director Glenn Hunter, who worked in the background pulling the project together.

Arial view of FPL's Columbia County solar farmAlso in attendance were local area students and the Columbia County 5.

More than 60,000 vehicles travel past the site.

According to FPL, "The plant is a collaboration between FPL and Columbia County to advance innovative energy projects that will help improve the resilience of the community."

The solar farm generates zero-emissions electricity – enough to power approximately 15,000 homes and is the equivalent of removing approximately 12,000 cars from the road each year.

During construction the project created about 200 new jobs. Now, the plant operates without human onsite intervention, while sheep take care of keeping the grounds mowed.

FPL Facts

FPL now operates a total of 18 universal solar power plants across the state, including the Columbia County 74.5 MGW plant.

Recently, the company announced its plan to install 30 million new solar panels across Florida by 2030. Laid end-to-end, 30 million solar panels would wrap around the Earth one and a half times. FPL's plan will make Florida a world leader in solar energy production.

FPL says the solar expansion plays a significant role in the company’s forward-looking strategy of making smart investments that generate affordable clean energy for customers.

Sunrise over solar farm


Economic Development Director Glenn HunterLast week, County Economic Development Director Glenn Hunter told the Observer that the plant is expected to generate $721,000 dollars in new county tax revenue.

The Columbia County 5 have announced that this new revenue will be earmarked to finance the still on the drawing board Hunter-Hilton, the proposed new County jail, should The 5 get around to approving the project.

None of the new revenue has been earmarked for future economic development or to improve the quality of life for every day Columbia County residents.

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