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New Solar Plant Comes to Taylor County

solar panels 1.jpg
Posted at 5:05 PM, Oct 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-19 18:15:41-04

PERRY, FL (WTXL) -- On Wednesday, Duke Energy celebrated the completion of a new 22-acre facility in Perry.

Currently powering up the city of Perry are 17 football fields of solar panels that are energizing many homes in Taylor County.

"By 2024, we're estimating we're going to have nearly 2,000 football fields worth of solar," said Alex Glenn, president of Duke Energy Florida. "This is part of diversifying our energy supply in the state of Florida."

The power plant has 22,000 solar panels. Through the project, Duke Energy brought in 75 local jobs.

"We'll have people maintaining the power plant, and it just solidifies our longstanding relationship with Taylor County," Glenn said.

While the power plant is bringing jobs and solar energy to Taylor County, it's also helping another group. At Taylor County Elementary School, students will get a hands-on learning experience with donated materials from Duke Energy.

The company is providing the school with books, lesson plans and solar car and panel kits.

"We have those toy cars that they gave us, so we're going to be using solar energy for it to make those run," said fifth grader Alana Hall.

"We are learning about energy right now in the classroom and energy transformations, so Duke Energy being so close to our school has really helped teach our standards," said science teacher Gretchen Smart-Hall.

The school is planning a derby race to show off how the cars operate on solar energy.

This is the second solar facility Duke Energy has set up in the Sunshine State. The first went online and into operation in May in Osceola County.