A global leader in sustainable energy production is eyeing more than 3,000 acres of citrus groves south of St. Cloud for a massive new solar farm.
Chicago-based Invenergy has requested a pre-application meeting with Osceola County's planning staff to discuss the potential 74.5 megawatt solar facility. Preliminary plans show the solar array along the northern and eastern boundaries of the property, and potentially linking to a Duke Energy transmission line or an OUC branch line.
The land is currently owned by an affiliate of International Farming Corp., which purchased the groves in 2015 in $19.7 million.
Invenergy has successfully developed more than 21,700 megawatts of projects that are in operation, construction or contracted, including wind, solar, and natural gas power generation facilities as well as advanced energy storage projects. The company's portfolio includes 26 solar projects, including one just south of Tampa that was completed in 2018.
Duke spokeswoman Ana Gibbs said any new solar facility designed to produce 75 megawatts or more requires additional layers of permitting, which explains why most new applications are just below that threshold.
Duke operates a small solar facility in Osceola County, but the company is not currently in negotiations with Invenergy, Gibbs said.
Duke just completed a comparable-sized solar farm in Jasper, Florida (74.9 megawatts) that can produce enough energy to power 20,000 homes. The company is also constructing a 74-megawatt solar farm on a 350-acre parcel in DeBary and has committed to procure 700 megawatts of solar power by 2024.