BlueChip Energy (BCE) has connected Florida’s largest solar rooftop installation to the grid. The rooftop installation, currently at 1.2MW, is part of the planned 10MW Rinehart Solar Farm. The rooftop installation, currently at 1.2MW, is part of the planned 10MW Rinehart Solar Farm. The massive solar array, spanning the company’s 318,000-sq-ft corporate offices and solar module production facility in Lake Mary, Fla., is still growing. An additional 800kW is under construction, bringing the rooftop installation’s total to 2MW.
In addition to its noteworthy size, the Rinehart Solar Farm is believed to be the first of its kind in North America, providing power to BCE's corporate offices and its wholly owned manufacturing subsidiary, Advanced Solar Photonics (ASP) and making ASP one of the first manufacturers of photovoltaic (PV) panels to be powered by energy generated from its own solar farm.
Plans call for the Rinehart Solar Farm to generate the balance of 5MW of energy needed to power equipment for ASP’s 100MW capacity plant by the 2012 first quarter. Upon completion, the Rinehart Solar Farm is expected produce an estimated 15 million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year — enough to displace over 6,100 metric tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of taking nearly 1,700 cars off the road. BCE also has an agreement with Progress Energy Florida for the purchase of energy generated from the solar farm.
Initially anticipating the addition of approximately 100 employment opportunities, the company has added more than 180 high-paying, high-skilled jobs while building local expertise in solar energy since 2009. On track to reach over 500 new jobs within two to three years and increase the size of their existing Seminole County facility, BCE is continuing to hire, centering its expansion in the areas of manufacturing as well as its development of utility scale solar farm projects in Central Florida.