Distributed Energy Resources

KUA signs Kissimmee as first subscriber for community solar project

The Kissimmee City Commission has approved a partnership with Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) to power 100 percent of its facilities with solar energy, beginning in 2020, KUA said on Feb. 7.

The partnership between Kissimmee and KUA allows the city the opportunity to secure a fixed energy rate for the next 20 years, independent of the fluctuating costs associated with typical power generation, KUA said. The agreement does not require the city to make any capital investments or long-term commitments.

“We welcome the city as our first solar subscriber,” said KUA president and general manager Jim Welsh. “We anticipate tremendous interest by both residential and commercial customers as we roll out this new community solar option.”

KUA joined the Florida Municipal Solar Project in 2018, a large-scale solar energy project that KUA said will allow it to provide renewable energy to its customers in the most cost-effective way.

The project is a joint effort between the Florida Municipal Power Agency, 12 of its member municipal utilities and NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC. It will be one of the largest municipal solar projects in the U.S. and will include the construction of two solar farms within Osceola County.

FMPA noted last year that the 12 cities that will purchase power from the project include Alachua, Bartow, Beaches Energy Services (Jacksonville Beach), Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, Homestead, Keys Energy Services (Key West), KUA, Lake Worth, Ocala, Orlando Utilities Commission, Wauchula and Winter Park.

The joint effort will see approximately 900,000 solar panels installed on three solar sites expected to be built in Osceola and Orange Counties. Combined, the three solar sites will total approximately 1,200 acres. Total electricity output will be 223.5 megawatts. Each solar site is designed to generate 74.5 megawatts. The power output from this project will be equal to 37,250 average-size rooftop solar systems. 

KUA noted that over the past several years Kissimmee has installed electric vehicle charging stations, replaced inefficient athletic field lighting with LED fixtures, deployed hybrid-electric sanitation vehicles that rely less on fossil fuels, made structural modifications to improve the energy efficiency at facilities and implemented various automated HVAC systems to lower energy consumption.