News & Announcements

OUC Builds Rare Floating Solar Array

Feb 08, 2017

Common in Europe & Asia, But a Rarity in US

   Rendering of OUC’s Gardenia Operations Center floating solar project.
  Rendering of OUC’s Gardenia Operations Center. The building’s parking lot is already covered with solar.

ORLANDO – OUC—The Reliable One, Orlando’s municipal utility, has found a new way to weave sustainability into its clean-energy portfolio. Tomorrow, February 9, OUC will begin installing a unique floating solar array on a large pond next to its Gardenia Operations Center between John Young Parkway and I-4. Installation will take two days.

OUC will own and operate the 31.5 kilowatt (kW) facility which will float on the water and send up to 31,500 watts of electricity directly into the OUC grid. “We’re using an area that is already devoid of trees and the reflectivity of the water will actually increase the capacity of the 100 solar panels,” said OUC Vice President of Emerging Technologies Byron Knibbs noting the impetus of the project was from trying to help new developers add solar to properties which often include ponds or small lakes. The array will provide enough energy to power about five homes.

   This is a photo of a similar array overseas. The construction in Orlando will begin February 9 and will be complete by the end of the following day.
  This is a photo of a similar array overseas. The construction in Orlando will begin February 9 and will be complete by the end of the following day.

The $90,000 project, which will pay for itself in energy production over time was put together by a team of OUC renewable energy experts. The OUC project, one of only a few floating solar installation tied directly into the U.S. electrical grid is manufactured by Ciel & Terre.

OUC was the first utility in Central Florida to build a large solar farm and was one of the first in the nation to offer community solar where its customers can “buy a piece” of an array on the same Gardenia campus. A nearly 13-megawatt solar array is under construction now at OUC’s Stanton Energy Center in East Orange County where OUC also utilizes methane gas from the Orange County landfill to offset coal.

   The fixed solar panels will be installed directly atop floats.
  The fixed solar panels will be installed directly atop floats.

About OUC—The Reliable One

Established in 1923 by a special act of the Florida Legislature, OUC—The Reliable One is the second largest municipal utility in Florida and 14th largest municipal in the country. OUC provides electric, water, chilled water and/or lighting services to 246,000 customers in Orlando, St. Cloud and parts of unincorporated Orange and Osceola counties.