Powering The (Walt Disney) World With Solar Energy

Photo – Origis Energy

In 1982, the Universe of Energy pavilion at E.P.C.O.T. Center opened as an innovation in energy technology. The entire roof was covered in 80,000 photovoltaic solar cells that partially powered the vehicles that sent guests through the attraction. Now in 2019, the Walt Disney World Resort, in collaboration with the Reedy Creek Improvement District and solar developer Origis Energy USA, revealed a massive new 270-acre, 50-megawatt solar facility with over a half a million solar panels.

Located adjacent to State Road 429, the facility is expected to generate enough renewable clean energy to operate two of Disney’s four theme parks in Central Florida annually. It will also significantly reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by tens of thousands of tons per year, joining the numerous efforts The Walt Disney Company has launched to deliver its 2020 goal of reducing emissions by 50% compared to 2012.

The more than a half a million solar panels are all on trackers to follow the sun for peak exposure though-out the day and providing up to 25% of the energy needed at that time. Not only is this solar facility the largest in Orange County, 50 megawatts, it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50,000 tons per year, the equivalent of removing about 10,000 cars from the roads annually.

The solar facility is also providing an important habitat for native wildlife in Central Florida. A team of environmental and horticulture experts from Disney collaborated to help make more than two-thirds of the facility pollinator friendly, with the goal of creating a nurturing and welcoming habitat for butterflies, bees and other insects, including endangered and at-risk species. This team is also managing and monitoring an experimental test garden at the facility to conduct research and further enhance the habitat. The effort to safeguard endangered pollinators aligns with the Disney Conservation Fund’s ongoing focus on saving wildlife, including butterflies.

“At Disney, every day is Earth Day, and we hope our guests and cast members will be as inspired and amazed as we are at what this new solar facility means for our community and planet,” said Angie Renner, Environmental Integration Director, Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products. “This is an ambitious step forward for our renewable energy efforts.”

To learn more about how The Walt Disney Company leads the way in helping to protect the environment and how you can help visit HERE to help make every day Earth Day.

Jeremiah Good
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.