ST. PETERSBURG — Duke Energy announced this week the completion and operation of its new 74.9-megawatt Hamilton Solar Power Plant in Jasper.

The plant’s carbon-free power is enough to energize more than 20,000 homes at peak production.

Across Duke Energy’s Florida service territory, the company’s 1.8 million customers — and the environment — are now benefiting from approximately 300,000 solar panels that generate clean, renewable energy.

“Duke Energy solar projects bring the greatest amount of renewable energy on line for customers in the most efficient and economical way,” Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida state president, said in a release. “Building solar power plants like Hamilton is part of our ongoing strategy to offer sustainable, diverse and smarter energy solutions that our customers have told us they value.”

The Hamilton plant is part of the company’s strategic commitment to install or acquire 700 MW of solar energy in Florida through 2022, helping ensure residents have increasingly clean and diverse power sources. DEF currently owns and operates nearly 100 MW of solar energy resources throughout its regulated service territory.

The company broke ground for the Hamilton plant in July 2018 and brought it online Dec. 22. The project, originally developed by Tradewind Energy Inc., was completed by Duke Energy.

Also in 2018, DEF announced plans to break ground in 2019 on the Columbia Solar Power Plant in Fort White. It will be developed by Core Solar. DEF will own, operate and maintain the 74.9-MW facility, which is expected to be fully operational in March 2020.

Together, the Hamilton and Columbia solar power plants are expected to eliminate approximately 645 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions in Florida during their first year of commercial operation. That’s the equivalent of taking 63,000 passenger cars off the road.

Duke Energy opened a solar plant in Suwannee County in November 2017. That plant contains 44,000 solar panels on 70 acres that produces 8.8 MW of solar energy.

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