Gulf Power has announced that they have begun construction on a 639-acre solar farm, located off of Bogia Road just west of U.S. 29, and will be completed by the end of the year. The new facility on the new Cotton Creek Solar Energy Center in northern Escambia County is part of several new solar farms Gulf Power is building across the Florida Panhandle, in addition to the four solar farms that are already up and running; three of which are run by a private company on military bases, including a 366-acre solar farm at Naval Air Station Pensacola’s Saufley Field. The new Gulf Power solar farm will provide between 200 and 250 construction jobs while being built and provide between US$250,000 and US$300,000 annually in new tax revenue for Escambia County.
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Each of the new solar farms will generate up to 74.5 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 15,000 homes. Gulf Power spokeswoman, Kimberly Blair, said it is unlikely the solar plant at Saufley Field, the Cotton Creek Solar Energy Center will be built and operated solely by Gulf Power. “We’re leveraging all of Florida Power & Light’s expertise and their track record of building these solar energy centers in other parts of Florida.”
The company is planning an additional solar farm in northern Escambia County called the First City Solar Energy Center as well as one in Santa Rosa County called the Blackwater River Solar Energy Center. Gulf Power Vice President, Mike Spoor, said in the company’s press release that the construction of the new facilities is ushering in a more sustainable future for Northwest Florida. “With each solar farm that we build, we’re reducing our carbon footprint and providing cleaner air for our region, ensuring we keep Northwest Florida beautiful for generations to come, while also benefiting the local economy with the contribution of hundreds of thousands of additional tax dollars,” Spoor said.