Tampa Electric is launching an innovative renewable energy project that floats at the Big Bend Power Station. (Photo courtesy of Tampa Electric.)

In support of Tampa Electric’s vision to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the company is launching an innovative renewable energy project—that floats.

Tampa Electric is completing construction of a floating solar array that is expected to be online in March. It is the largest floating solar array in Florida and the first of its kind in the Tampa Bay area.

The company has installed 1 megawatt (MW) of solar panels atop an existing pond at the Big Bend Power Station. The panels take up about 3 acres of the 14-acre pond. The panels are anchored to pilings around the shoreline, similar to a boat being tied to a dock.

Half of the floating solar array’s 3,200 solar panels are double-sided, so they also collect sunlight reflecting off the water. It is Tampa Electric’s first use of double-sided panels.

Studies have shown double-sided panels can produce as much as 30 percent more energy than traditional panels.

“We are proud to lead the way on this innovative renewable energy project, and our customers will benefit,” said Archie Collins, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. “Exploring alternative solutions like this, to maximize space while producing as much solar energy as possible, will play a significant role in achieving our vision of net-zero carbon emissions.”

This demonstration project is an expanded part of the company’s Clean Energy Center at the Florida Conservation and Technology Center in Apollo Beach. The center is a collaboration of three champions of the environment: Tampa Electric, The Florida Aquarium and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Tampa Electric has become the leading producer of solar energy per customer in the state. So far, the company has installed more than 750 MW of solar, with more on the way.

Thanks to its investment in solar power, Tampa Electric has repurposed hundreds of acres of land previously used for agriculture, saving more than two billion gallons of water and significantly helping an area of the state that has critical concerns over water use.

To learn more, visit www.tampaelectric.com.

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