Duke Energy to build solar power plant in Citrus County, many residents upset


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Duke Energy Florida (DEF) today announced the locations of its two newest solar power plants, which continue the expansion of its renewable generation portfolio.

These solar plants are the latest milestones in our strategy to deliver clean energy to our customers. DEF currently has more than 900 MW of solar generation under construction or in operation and will more than quadruple the amount of in-service solar on the system over the next four years.

The Fort Green Power Plant will be built on approximately 500 acres in Hardee County, Fla. The 74.9-megawatt (MW) plant will consist of approximately 265,000 solar panels, utilizing a fixed-tilt racking system that will produce enough carbon-free energy to effectively power more than 20,000 average-sized homes at peak production.

The Bay Trail Solar Power Plant will be built on 500 acres in Citrus County, Fla. Once operational, the 74.9-MW facility will consist of approximately 197,000 tracking bifacial solar panels. Its innovative double-sided panel design is highly efficient and tracks the movement of the sun. The plant will be capable of effectively producing enough electricity to power approximately 23,000 average-sized homes at peak production.

The Bay Trail facility is the site of a future mining location and the Fort Green site is a former phosphate mine.

“These solar power plants are examples of how mining sites can be developed for renewable energy and benefit our communities and the environment,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “Duke Energy Florida is delivering on what our customers want – access to clean energy at a competitive price. We are providing environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and innovative solar that benefits all of our Florida customers.”

Duke says the plant will bring approximately 200-300 jobs to the area.

Many Citrus County residents are not thrilled with the idea.

“Destroying more land for a solar plant where the benefits do not outweigh the costs is assinine,” said Jill White. “I do not support this at all, nor do any of my neighbors.”

Max Right wrote, “What a waste of money. Keep building…destroying land, and before you know it our crime will be as high as it is in Marion County.”

On Facebook, hundreds of comments have been posted from those against the idea.

“Citrus County welcomes the Duke Energy Bay Trail Solar Power Plant into our community,” said Citrus County Commission Chair Scott E. Carnahan. ”This investment promotes clean energy, brings jobs to our area, and capital investment into our community. We believe this project will bring many benefits to our residents.”

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