Orlando finds solar power strategies for a carbon-free 2050
Orlando has become a pioneer in moving beyond carbon-based energy. By mid-century, all of The City Beautiful’s energy will be generated from carbon-free sources.
A first milestone targets up 8 percent of the city-owned Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) power to be sourced from solar by 2020. Five years later, the city’s greenhouse gas emissions should 26-28 percent below 2005 levels. That would meet the Paris climate accord goal.
These achievements are in progress today as a result of leadership commitments and renewable power innovations, especially solar:
OUC has deployed a floating array of solar panels onto a stormwater storage reservoir. The project is a first in Florida and has brought online a 31.5-kW array.
OUC has announced a study which will demonstrate how algae can capture carbon from coal-fired generators. The resulting product will be pelletized then converted to biofuel.
Solar panels are being placed atop streetlights, providing illumination without drawing upon the grid. To further reduce energy use, high-efficiency light-emitting diodes have replaced 18,000 of Orlando’s 25,000 conventional streetlights.
Approximately 3,200 homes could be powered by solar energy equipment that OUC has already installed. Panels placed strategically on rooftops and parking lot canopies are contributing 20 megawatts of that power.
Equipment on residential rooftops contributes an additional 10 megawatts. A net metering policy provides homeowners the full retail value of the electricity they send to the grid.