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Making Energy Magical — Commercial Solar at its Finest

Walt Disney World Solar Project

When thinking of Disney World, many people have a strong connection to its wholesome environment and never ending display of events, but to most, the idea of how much power this giant tourist attraction requires to run is a perhaps more uncommon thought. As with many large corporations in more recent years, switching to solar has become quite popular. Of course with a large company like Disney whose properties are enormous and energy usage even more so, switching to solar requires more than just a few panels on a roof. Especially with the unique variety of landscapes offered at many parts of Disney World, installing panels is not a simple task, and not to mention such panels would more than likely come off as unappealing and do nothing more than get in the way for many visitors.

Image of Disney’s 22 acre solar farm

With these obstacles, an alternative method of acquiring solar was necessary, and with this, the concept of harnessing energy from a solar farm became an ideal solution. As a result, Disney World launched its first official solar initiative with the help of Duke Energy in 2016, and with an appealing twist to it, by arranging the layout of solar panels to form the shape of the classic Mickey Mouse icon. In total, the farm totals in at roughly 5 megawatts of power, and is just a small part of Disney’s large objective to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Reaching almost 22 acres total in size, this farm is certainly a sizeable venture, but with the tremendous amounts of energy consumed by Disney World throughout the year, this nearby “Hidden Mickey” solar farm is not near suitable enough, even in the beaming Florida sun.

Disney’s 270 acre solar farm

Indeed, Disney acknowledged this fact that was as clear as the daylight that powered their beloved solar panels, and to no surprise, they had a much bigger project in the works. In 2020, Disney completed its staggering 270 acre 50 megawatt solar farm, built in collaboration with the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Origis Energy USA and aimed at powering two of its four Orlando theme parks. This huge project is sure to deliver great results, while Disney continues to work on even bigger sustainability achievements in the years to come. It is worth mentioning that Disney’s renewable energy objectives have expanded beyond the United States, with Disneyland Paris harnessing the power of geothermal energy to power its onsite theme parks and resorts, and Disney Cruise Line at Castaway Cay in the Bahamas using solar power to heat water for the crew on the island.

These projects being launched by Disney are just a few examples of how powerful commercial solar objectives can be. With the costs and benefits of solar panel installations, businesses can often find partnerships and coverage methods that make these processes more obtainable than they might sound. Obviously a 270 acre solar farm is not something that can be established by every company; however, the concept of establishing a solar farm and using the process of community solar to help cover the installation costs may be a realistic approach to switching to solar for businesses as the world is shifting more and more towards renewable energy.

References:

[1] https://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-disney-duke-solar-20160412-story.html

[2] https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/powering-the-magic-with-renewable-energy/

[3] https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/travel/story/walt-disney-world-greener-solar-farm-larger-magic-62513202

[4] https://mickeyblog.com/2021/04/25/how-walt-disney-world-is-powering-the-resort-with-renewable-energy/

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Capella is on a mission to connect communities to a net zero future.

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