ST. PETERSBURG — Duke Energy Florida announced Tuesday the locations of its two newest solar power plants which will provide cleaner, smarter energy solutions to benefit Florida customers.

The Twin Rivers Solar Power Plant will be built on 460 acres in Hamilton County. Once operational, the 74.9-megawatt (MW) facility will consist of approximately 235,000 tracking solar panels. The panels track the movement of the sun and are capable of producing enough electricity to power approximately 23,000 homes at peak production.

The Santa Fe Solar Power Plant will be built on approximately 600 acres in Columbia County. The 74.9-MW plant will consist of approximately 235,000 tracking solar panels, which will produce enough carbon-free energy to power more than 23,000 average homes at peak production.

Both solar power plants will be developed, owned, operated and maintained by Duke Energy Florida and are expected to break ground in March 2020. Completion is currently scheduled for late 2020.

"Our two newest solar power plants in Hamilton and Columbia counties are expected to eliminate approximately 600 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions in Florida each year upon commercial operation. That’s the equivalent of taking about 56,000 passenger cars off the road each year," Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida state president, said in a release. “We are committed to environmental stewardship and more fuel diversity for our Florida customers’ benefit."

During construction each solar project creates 200 to 300 temporary jobs.

“Columbia County is excited to partner with Duke Energy on this solar project that is not only promoting green energy, but also bringing jobs and capital investment into our community,” said Columbia County economic development director Glenn Hunter. ”Additionally, Duke Energy’s investment into the hundreds of acres of rural farmland in Columbia County is significant to preserve the integrity of our land and development as we move into the future.”

Additionally, Duke Energy Florida completed two solar facilities last month.

The Lake Placid Solar Power Plant in Highlands County began serving customers Dec. 9, 2019. The facility is 45 MW, which is enough to power more than 12,000 homes at peak production.

The Trenton Solar Power Plant in Gilchrist County, Fla. began serving customers Dec. 18, 2019. The facility is 74.9 MW, which is enough to power more than 23,000 homes at peak production.

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