OUC dedicates solar farm on former landfill site, more solar planned

Orlando Utilities Commission on Dec. 7 dedicated a 13-megawatt solar facility on the site of a former landfill that was once designated for the construction of a future coal plant. The utility also unveiled plans to construct floating solar arrays at the site.

The new solar farm was dedicated in honor of retiring general manager and CEO Ken Ksionek, who has been with the Florida public power utility for 32 years.

The project is made up of 37,544 panels and was completed in June at the Stanton Energy Center in east Orange County, Florida. The 24 acres of solar panels were built on two sites atop a coal combustion byproduct landfill, OUC said.

The Stanton Energy Center is a multi-fuel energy campus that uses coal and steam, landfill gas, natural gas, solar, and state-of-the-art pollution control equipment with zero-water discharge.

When the solar farm was constructed, one site was already cleared of trees and perfect for solar panel installation, while the second was designed for a future coal plant about 30 years ago. The new solar farm is expected to generate enough clean electricity to power 2,100 homes.

In 2017, OUC doubled its solar energy production.

OUC also disclosed that in early 2018, it plans to add up to 20 megawatts of floating solar on the ponds at Stanton.

“What lies ahead is going to be tremendous in the next 10 to 15 years moving forward,” Ksionek said. “And, I can’t wait to watch and see how this great company plays a part in ensuring Orlando and Orange County continue on this sustainable path.”

OUC installed a floating solar array earlier this year on a pond near its operations center in southwest Orlando, Fla.

The OUC’s board of commissioners on Nov. 21 reached a consensus to begin contract negotiations with Clint Bullock, OUC Vice President of Electric & Water Delivery, to become the next General Manager & CEO of OUC.