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Lakeland Electric Breaks Ground on a 5.5MW (AC) Solar Farm at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport

Solar Farm to be deployed in alliance with SunEdison is expected to generate more than 217 Million kWh of energy over 25 years

LAKELAND, FL (September 14, 2011) – City of Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields, Lakeland Electric and officials from SunEdison, celebrated the groundbreaking of a 5.5 megawatt solar power plant at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. Once completed the 5.5 MW solar farm is expected to generate more 217 million kilowatt hours of energy over 25 years—enough energy to power more than 20,000 homes for a year.

The 5.5MW photovoltaic solar farm will be deployed in two phases and will be comprised of more than 24,000 solar modules.  The project is made possible through a strategic power purchase agreement between Lakeland Electric and SunEdison, a global leader in solar energy services. Through the agreement, SunEdison will deploy, own, operate and maintain the solar farm with no upfront costs required from Lakeland Electric. In return, Lakeland electric will purchase the energy produced at predictable rates for 25 years.

“Environmental stewardship is important to our community, to Lakeland City leadership and to Lakeland Electric. It is vital that every utility consider carefully how to meet the increasing needs of their customers and do it in a way that is fiscally and environmentally prudent. Deploying utility-scale solar with no upfront costs is a win-win for Lakeland. This is our second solar project with SunEdison and we look forward to our continued partnership, working with them to develop solar energy into our generation inventory,” noted Jim Stanfield, General Manager for Lakeland Electric.  He added, “It is important that utilities like Lakeland Electric diversify their supply portfolio with renewable resources to reduce exposure to the fossil fuels market. This project along with others is a significant step in that direction.”

“We make affordable, utility-scaled solar a reality,” stated Robert Reichenberger, U.S. Vice President of VP of Utilities for SunEdison. “By bringing together the right people and the right technologies, SunEdison is able to help utilities across the globe realize the benefits of solar energy.”

Once both phases are completed, it is expected the solar farm will produce more than 9.8 million kWh of energy annually and roughly 217 million kWh over 25 years. The environmental attributes associated with the deployment is expected offset more than 300 million pounds of CO2 over 20 years which is equivalent to removing more than 29,000 cars off the road for a year.

The first phase of the project is expected to be operational by year’s end and phase two is expected to operational by August of 2012.

About Lakeland Electric
Lakeland Electric is a full service power provider with over 600 full-time employees and it was one of the first electric utilities in the state of Florida.  Serving over 120,000 customers, it is the third largest public power provider in Florida generating over 1,100-megawatts and operating 2000 miles of transmission and distribution facilities.  Lakeland Electric owns and operates one of the most efficient combined cycle gas units in the United States and has been on the forefront of emerging renewable energy sources.  It was one of the first utilities in the country to offer customers a solar hot water heater program over 20 years ago.  The utility continues to push toward the future with a recent roof-top solar project and now with a 40 acre, 5.5 MW solar farm.

 



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