One year of solar power

By  | 

OKALOOSLA COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Harnessing the sun's energy isn't that simple.

“These solar panels that you’re seeing out here are taking all the energy from the sun and they’re producing what’s called a direct current energy or DC, it’s like battery energy, and what this inverter does is it converts it to AC, it’s what we use in our homes, alternating current," said Gulf Power Spokesperson Jeff Rodgers.

Since the switch flipped last August, Gulf Power's three solar fields are expected to produce 120 megawatts of power a year, enough to power 18,000 homes.

“They have met our expectations. And even with a lot of the rain and the weather that we’ve had, these fields are operating at the capacity that we had hoped," said Gulf Power Spokesperson Kimberly Blair.

So what does this mean for Gulf Power customers?

“It helps our energy mix," said Gulf Power Spokesperson Rick Delahaya.

What many people may not realize, is that just an hour and a half away from Panama City is one of three solar fields that lay in the Eglin Reserve, this field alone...

“It actually produces about 30 megawatts of power which can power about almost 4,500 homes annually," said Delahaya.

While these solar panels contribute to three percent of the company's renewable energy efforts, another eight percent of clean energy is also in the power mix.

“We also have wind energy from Oklahoma and we have landfill gas to energy in Pensacola where we actually capture methane," said Blair.

Positioning Gulf Power for a cleaner future.

“The sky’s wide open for more panels and for more renewables and this is just the beginning," said Delahaya.