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New power plant in Crystal River has 197,000 solar panels

Duke Energy's Bay Trail Renewable Energy Center officially opens Friday.

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. — As part of the company’s new “Clean Energy Connection” program, Duke Energy has plans to operate 10 large solar power plants, with one of the first opening in Crystal River.

The company will cut the ribbon on the Bay Trail Renewable Energy Center Friday, a new plant located off US-19 and Suncoast Blvd.

Bay Trail is already operational and connected to the grid, but will be fully operational this fall, generating enough solar energy to fully power more than 23,000 homes.

The plant has more than 197,000 solar panels that follow the sun’s movement throughout the day, generating zero-carbon, renewable energy.

The company says the plan for a community solar program was sparked because customers are interested in supporting clean, renewables and this gives them a way to do that without having their own panels at home.

"Through the program, Duke Energy Florida customers can actually subscribe to power generated by a facility just like this and earn credit towards their electricity bills without having to install or maintain their own equipment,” says Duke Energy’s Audrey Stasko.

The company, which has nearly 2 million customers in Florida, says the solar plants will also help improve electric reliability across the state. 

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