Duke Energy cut the ribbon on its new 11-megawatt battery site in Trenton on Monday and celebrated the 2019 start of its 74.9 MW Trenton Solar Power Plant.
The new battery site will complement the solar facility and represents the start of a portfolio of similar sites.
“This is one of our first batteries in all of Florida—right here in Trenton,” Danny Collins, Duke Energy’s government and community relations manager, said.
Duke reported that it will have six battery sites across Florida by the end of 2022.
Collins said Duke also had a first with its solar plant, the first in Gilchrist County. It started operations in December 2019, but the start of the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all celebration plans.
The solar facility contains 280,000 panels and sits in northwest Trenton on 795 acres. The panels follow the sun’s movements throughout the day to maximize output.
Duke personnel said its solar plants in Florida keep themselves clean because of all the rain, and the panels are rated to withstand hurricanes.
Gilchrist County Commissioner Bill Martin said the area has been known for its farms since before it was a county—producing watermelons, peanuts and cattle.
Now, he said the county welcomes solar farms as the newest addition to its agricultural community.
Collins said the solar farm wouldn’t be the last in the area. In High Springs and Hardeetown, Duke has solar plant projects under development.
Lyle Wilkerson, Trenton city manager, said Duke always does what’s asked of them in the community and helps the area through sponsoring youth programs and a big influx in tax revenue.
“Duke has been a phenomenal partner to work with,” Wilkerson said.
Collins said the two entities worked together to receive permits for the battery site, something the city had never permitted before.
In December, Duke installed electric vehicle charging stations in Chiefland as part of its Park and Plug program. Duke also places the stations along evacuation routes to ease worries and increase range.