In 1972 I and my tiny solar company, The Energy Center, never thought the day would come when solar farms would become the rage worldwide. No one would have guessed that. The Solar water heater biz barely existed!

541 Acre Solar Farm Planned For McDavid, Large Enough To Power 14,000 Homes

December 11, 2018

A solar farm large enough to power over 14,000 homes is in the planning stages for West Bogia Road in McDavid.

Florida Renewable Partners (FRP), a wholly-owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy, is seeking permits to construct a 74.5 megawatt facility known currently as the “Escambia County Solar Energy Center” on 541 acres along and just north of West Bogia Road, according to documents obtained by NorthEscambia.com.

By comparison, Gulf Power’s largest solar field at Saufley Field is 50 megawatts, enough to power almost 7,400 homes. Gulf Power is not involved in the proposed McDavid project; however NextEra is currently in the process of purchasing Gulf Power as part of a $6.475 billion deal.

“The facility will generate clean, renewable energy by converting sunlight via photovoltaic solar panels into direct current (DC) electricity. The direct current flows from the panels through inverters and is converted into alternating current (AC) used by local electric utilities. Finally, the electricity travels through transformers, and the voltage is boosted for delivery onto the transmission lines so the local electric utility can distribute the zero-emissions electricity to homes and businesses,” according to a document filed with the  Escambia County Development Review Committee by FRP.

The development is planned for an area behind and north of existing homes on West Bogia Road between South Pine Barren Road and Highway 29. A small portion of the project area includes land north and south of West Bogia Road, surrounding Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church (map below). There are currently no homes on the project property.

The area, owned by RMS Timberlands,  is zoned as agriculture  and is currently used for timber growth.

No water or sewer infrastructure will be necessary to serve the development, and no habitable space will be constructed. The facility will be monitored remotely and will not require onsite personnel for day-to-day operation, but personnel will occasionally visit the site to conduct required maintenance activities, according to FRP documents.

The Escambia County Solar Energy Center is entering the pre-application process with Escambia County and faces numerous steps before being permitted.

The project area does not included land purchased by Gulf Power in 2009 for a possible nuclear power plant that was never constructed.

Photo and image for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

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