The Florida A&M University (FAMU) has announced that its Board of Trustees has approved partnership with Duke Energy Florida (DEF) to build a solar facility in Central Florida.

12Mar - FAMU

Image: Fred Gainous addressing the FAMU BOT. Photo: Courtesy of FAMU Office of Communications.

The 25-year lease agreement with DEF, approved by the FAMU trustee board, is expected to provide a new, long-term revenue source at its Brooksville Agricultural and Environmental Research Station (BAERS) for the University.

Duke Energy’s Rattler solar power plant is capable of adding 74.9MW of clean, renewable power to the grid at BAERS and helps the further development and research of solar technologies, plant operations and workforce expansion.

FAMU Brooksville project lead Fred Gainous said: “FAMU strives to be a good neighbor at all times, and like residents of Brooksville and Hernando County, we are concerned about the sustainability of the planet.  This initiative allows us to use the natural energy source of the sun to power homes, instead of using resources that can be depleted.”

The solar facility is anticipated to occupy approximately 600 to 800 acres of property and feature approximately 270,000 tracking solar panels, capable of following the sun’s movement throughout the day to maximize the energy production.

FAMU president Larry Robinson said: “Making this land available to Duke Energy allows FAMU to accomplish two central objectives: generating revenue for student education and offering the county an alternative source of clean energy. We look forward to a long and healthy partnership with Duke Energy.”

Once operational, the facility is expected to provide electricity adequate for approximately 23,000 average-sized homes at peak production.

Electricity generated from the project is fed onto the DEF electric grid and delivered to homes, businesses, schools, places of worship and other customers in the area.

Duke Energy Florida distributed generation strategy director Tamara Waldmann said: “Duke Energy is pleased with the Board of Trustees’ decision. This specific vote will allow Duke Energy to perform a critical next step, which is the evaluation of the FAMU property to determine if the conditions are indeed suitable for solar energy.

“Meanwhile, Duke Energy is engaging with Hernando County, and we will be engaging community leaders and residents in the coming weeks.”