The project is expected to avoid the emission of up to 1.45 million tons of carbon dioxide when compared to a natural gas-fired peaking combustion turbine in 25 years period.

The contract will also promote the state’s goal of encouraging the production of renewable energy produced by renewable energy generating facilities in Florida; reduce Florida’s dependence on natural gas and fuel oil for electricity production; provide the basis for significant new investment, economic development and job creation in Polk county and in the state; reduce environmental impacts associated with electricity generation; protect the company and its customers from technical and operational risks through its energy-only, fixed pricing; provide fuel diversity benefits.

Energy 5.0 will build the 25 MW facility on a proposed 200 to 400 acre site in Polk county. The project will consist of silicon-based PV panels that generate electricity when exposed to sunlight. The facility is expected to produce more than 48,000 megawatt hour of electricity per year – enough output to serve the electric energy needs of more than 3,400 homes. The average home in Tampa Electric’s service territory uses about 14,000 kilowatt hour per year.

I applaud TECO and Energy 5.0 on this exciting partnership that moves Florida closer to our goal of increasing energy diversity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Florida Governor Charlie Crist said. Two years ago, I challenged Florida to find the ‘gold in green,’ and we continue to see companies investing in innovative solutions that promote the use of renewable energy while saving money for consumers.

Tampa Electric President Chuck Black said, We are committed to pursuing our state’s goal of developing and supporting Florida renewable energy sources that will benefit our customers and are in the best interest of all Floridians. This cutting edge project will be important in meeting current and future state renewable energy objectives.

As our company’s flagship solar power project, this undertaking will be a showcase for zero-emission renewable power in the Southeast, Energy 5.0 Chairman Bud Cherry said. Assuming approval by the Florida Public Service Commission this spring, deliveries from the Florida Solar I Project could begin in the first half of 2011.