Coronal Energy and Gulf Power are celebrating the completion of the 120 megawatt Gulf Coast Solar Center on land owned by the US Department of Defense in Northwest Florida. Built on three Navy and Air Force sites, the solar plants are currently the largest solar portfolio installed on military property. The projects will provide solar for over 18,000 homes annually throughout Gulf Power’s service area in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties and create back-up power security for the Navy and Air Force in case of grid failure.
“Considering the scale of the Gulf Coast Solar Center portfolio, collaboration between our team and the like-minded teams at the US Air Force, US Navy, and Gulf Power has been an essential element of our success in developing these projects,” said Jonathan Jaffrey, chairman and CEO of Coronal Energy, a Panasonic owned company. “The result is a landmark energy project that represents what is possible when our nation’s military and its leading energy companies like Gulf Power commit to renewables. We are honored to take our place alongside these partners for this historic project.”
The Gulf Coast Solar Center will reduce carbon emissions by more than 3.5 million tons over 25 years. Nearly 450 solar jobs were created since construction began on the facilities in November 2016, stimulating economic growth across the region.
The Gulf Coast Solar Center spans approximately 942-acres at three locations and consists of over 1.5 million solar panels across all installations. The NAS Pensacola NOLF Saufley project will provide 50 megawatts of solar capacity and generate electricity for 7,400 Gulf Power customer’s homes in Escambia County annually. With 40 megawatts of capacity, the NAS Whiting Field’s NOLF Holley facility in Santa Rosa County will provide solar for 6,100 homes, while the 30 megawatt Eglin Air Force Base Reservation solar plant in Okaloosa County will generate enough solar to energize 4,500 homes per year.
Gulf Power is not the only Florida utility to expand its solar portfolio by developing large-scale projects. In May 2017 Florida Power & Light Co. announced that it was shuttering the 1.3 gigawatt Johns River Power Park, a coal-fired plant near Jacksonville, FL, and developing 2.1 gigawatts of solar across its service area. The move is expected to save the utility’s customers up to $183 million and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.6 million tons annually.
“We work hard every day to provide our customers with valuable and diverse energy solutions, and it’s a special occasion to see the vision we had for this project come to life today,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power chairman, president and CEO. “Adding clean, affordable energy to our energy grid through the innovative public-private partnership that enabled the completion of all three of the portfolio’s solar facilities is a proud accomplishment for Gulf Power, and a significant milestone for the local economy, our customers and the environment.”Tweet