Walt Disney World is going great lengths to bring renewable energy into the theme parks with the announcement of their new Mickey-shaped solar farm near Disney’s Epcot. The 22 acre farm is part of a 15-year agreement that allows Duke Energy to build, own and operate the solar farm on Disney’s land which in return will provide solar power to the Walt Disney World parks.
The farm has been generating power since March, but Tuesday morning signified the farm coming online with Duke Energy state president Alex Glenn turning on a giant symbolic switch. The five-megawatt (equivalent to 5 million watts!), 48,000-solar panel farm generates enough power equivalent to 1,000 residential solar rooftop systems.
Angie Renner, Disney World’s environmental integration director, said the solar farm was part of the visioning process for 2020 projects, and was a result of combined discussions about solar between Disney World, Duke, and Reedy Creek Improvement District. It’s also a push from Duke Energy to add more solar power in Florida. “By using alternative energy, we are putting our creativity to work and finding innovative ways to help preserve the planet,” Renner said.
Renner also mentioned that Disney is finding other ways to power big-energy users and and is looking to implement more clean energy systems around the resort, like converting its Disney buses to a cleaner diesel fuel made from vegetable oil that would ultimately reduce emissions by nearly half. Disney is touting the farm as the “latest initiative in Disney’s long-standing commitment to environmental conservation.”
Disney’s new solar farm isn’t the largest hidden Mickey – that would be a 60-acre forest located in Clermont, Florida, just east of U.S. Highway 27!
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