Burns & McDonnell completes Big Bend Solar Project for Tampa Electric in Florida

Burns & McDonnell has achieved completion requirements necessary for commercial operation of the Big Bend Solar project in Tampa, Florida.

This solar photovoltaic (PV) project, located in 106 acre, is owned and operated by Tampa Electric.

It is claimed to be the largest single source of solar power in the Tampa area with capacity to serve 3,300 homes.

Located near the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, it was the first utility-scale solar project undertaken by Tampa Electric.

The facility produces 23MW of DC capacity before linking with the Tampa area power grid.

It features over 202,000 thin-film PV panels installed in 1,772 rows.

The panels are equipped with sensors and drive motors that allow them to track the movement of the sun, in turn leading to a more than 20% energy gain over fixed solar installations.

The Big Bend Solar Plant features inverters offered by SMA for conversion from DC to AC power and modules with First Solar advanced thin film PV technology.

Burns & McDonnell principal and national director of solar projects Matt Brinkman said: "The Big Bend Solar Plant is significant in proving utility-scale PV is cost competitive with traditional generation for regulated utilities. Solar costs have decreased dramatically."

Tampa Electric serves more than 730,000 customers in west central Florida.

Tampa Electric is a subsidiary of Emera, a Canada-based energy and services company.