PORTLAND PRESS HERALD: Mickey-shaped solar farm launches at Disney World

Duke Energy and Walt Disney World officials on Tuesday announced details of a Mickey-shaped solar farm near Epcot. The five-megawatt solar farm is being called the Walt Disney World Solar Facility. It is visible from the air as a giant Mickey Mouse shape.

The farm is about 22 acres, part of a 15-year agreement that allows Duke Energy to build, own and operate the farm on Disney’s land. In return, the farm will provide solar power to Walt Disney World. It’s taken Disney a while to build a large-scale solar facility, but the Epcot area is no stranger to solar panels. Epcot’s Universe of Energy building has had panels on its roof since October 1982. Continue to the entire article

ORLANDO SENTINEL: Disney’s new solar farm is not-so-hidden Mickey

On Tuesday morning, Angie Renner, Disney World’s environmental integration director, helped Duke Energy state president Alex Glenn throw a giant symbolic switch to signify the farm coming online. But the facility was already generating power since March.

On Tuesday, a bright sunny day resulted in a high-pitched whine from the converters at the facility, meaning it was cranking out power. Renner said the solar farm was part of the visioning process for 2020 projects, and was a result of combined discussions about solar between Disney World, Duke, and Reedy Creek Improvement District. Continue to the entire article

ORLANDO BUSINESS JOURNAL: What Disney’s massive solar panel plant means for tourism

Operated by Duke Energy, the facility will sell energy to the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which operates inside of Walt Disney World. “As a company that cares about the environment, we continually take steps of varying sizes to benefit the environment and protect the planet. This new solar facility will help us in our efforts to conserve natural resources,” said Angie Renner, environmental integration director for Walt Disney World Resort, in a prepared statement.

It’s still some ways to go before Disney could one day power an entire park with solar panels, but this is a move toward finding other ways to power big-energy users like theme parks. Disney has been finding ways to implement more clean energy systems around the resort, including converting its Disney bus fleet to reduce emissions by nearly half, said the company. Continue to the entire article

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Switch thrown on Mickey Mouse-shaped solar array near Disney’s Epcot Center

The solar project is one of several by Duke, which has said it plans to add up to 500 megawatts of solar power by 2024.

The iconic Mickey Mouse head is seen everywhere on Disney properties, often called “Hidden Mickeys.” Many are tiny and hard to spot, carefully concealed in the architecture of a building, or elsewhere as part of the design of a wall or even in the rocks of a fireplace.

Finding them is often sport for the more-dedicated Disney fans. If you think the solar array is the largest hidden Mickey in existence, guess again. As the Orlando Sentinel reports, the record is held by a 60-acre “Mickey Forest” in Clermont, east of U.S. 27, that sits in a burned-out orange grove. Disney finished planting seedlings in 1992 that grew into the familiar shape on land owned by the entertainment giant. Continue to the entire article

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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