641 Acre Solar Farm Planned For McDavid, Large Enough To Power 14,000 Homes

December 11, 2018

A solar farm large enough to power over 14,000 homes is in the planning stages for West Bogia Road in McDavid.

Florida Renewable Partners (FRP), a wholly-owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy, is seeking permits to construct a 74.5 megawatt facility known currently as the “Escambia County Solar Energy Center” on 541 acres along and just north of West Bogia Road, according to documents obtained by NorthEscambia.com.

By comparison, Gulf Power’s largest solar field at Saufley Field is 50 megawatts, enough to power almost 7,400 homes. Gulf Power is not involved in the proposed McDavid project; however NextEra is currently in the process of purchasing Gulf Power as part of a $6.475 billion deal.

“The facility will generate clean, renewable energy by converting sunlight via photovoltaic solar panels into direct current (DC) electricity. The direct current flows from the panels through inverters and is converted into alternating current (AC) used by local electric utilities. Finally, the electricity travels through transformers, and the voltage is boosted for delivery onto the transmission lines so the local electric utility can distribute the zero-emissions electricity to homes and businesses,” according to a document filed with the  Escambia County Development Review Committee by FRP.

The development is planned for an area behind and north of existing homes on West Bogia Road between South Pine Barren Road and Highway 29. A small portion of the project area includes land north and south of West Bogia Road, surrounding Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church (map below). There are currently no homes on the project property.

The area, owned by RMS Timberlands,  is zoned as agriculture  and is currently used for timber growth.

No water or sewer infrastructure will be necessary to serve the development, and no habitable space will be constructed. The facility will be monitored remotely and will not require onsite personnel for day-to-day operation, but personnel will occasionally visit the site to conduct required maintenance activities, according to FRP documents.

The Escambia County Solar Energy Center is entering the pre-application process with Escambia County and faces numerous steps before being permitted.

The project area does not included land purchased by Gulf Power in 2009 for a possible nuclear power plant that was never constructed.

Photo and image for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


22 Responses to “641 Acre Solar Farm Planned For McDavid, Large Enough To Power 14,000 Homes”

  1. Citizen on December 15th, 2018 11:15 am

    Solar energy is a great option for our area. I’m excited to take part and begin using renewable energy. Like it or not, fossil fuels are running out and we will still want to use electricity a few dozen years from now.

  2. Dave on December 12th, 2018 7:53 pm

    Seems to be a lot of misinformation around solar energy. Here in NW Florida, we get about 5.1 “sun hours” per day on an annual average so solar is a great option because the resource is available. My 5kW solar system generates about 86% of my 2800SF home’s demand. I installed it in 2009 and next year I’ll recoup my initial investment and the panels are rated for another 20 years with minimal degradation (about 1% per year). Today’s 330W panels are much more efficient than the 250W panels that were available when I installed them AND the cost has come down by 50%. Most of the country has embraced solar just based on economics. Coal is dying thanks mainly to lower natural gas prices, but renewables will be the nail in the coffin.

  3. Norma on December 12th, 2018 7:25 pm

    Now did we vote last year on solar power? Did it not get turned down? So now what is good for the goose (liberials) is good for the gander (conservatives) correct? I want solar panels. Not just to sell the power back to the power company but to put money back in my pocket. Florida is getting as bad as Colorado and other liberal states.

  4. It's a good thing on December 12th, 2018 10:14 am
  5. George on December 12th, 2018 9:41 am

    A hurricane would tear the place up for sure. I wonder what the insurance would cost?

  6. Matt on December 11th, 2018 9:14 pm

    Great, we need more renewable energy. Now if only erec would get its head out of the sand and embrace cheaper and cleaner solar power. But they would actually have to care about they’re rate payers to try to save them money, so can’t see it happening soon. Maybe someday they will be bought out like gulf power is now then we can join the 21st century in this area.

  7. Richard on December 11th, 2018 7:49 pm

    Nuclear power would be much cheaper to build for if the fearmongers and enviro-whackos were to simply get out of the way and let the experienced engineers and scientists get their jobs done rather than stay tied up in court battles, enriching attorneys. The U.S. Navy has many decades of safely operating nuclear reactors.

  8. CW on December 11th, 2018 5:21 pm

    It’s a shame this land couldn’t be used to restore more longleaf pine habitat, which would benefit wildlife. Keep the solar farms out west where nothing will grow and there’s more sunshine.

  9. Burnie Silcox on December 11th, 2018 5:08 pm

    Even on cloudy days,heat is produced, maybe it can be used for steam to tuen turbo s>???????

  10. Grover on December 11th, 2018 4:26 pm

    Wonder if this was prompted by a deadline for spending federal renewable energy grant funds. Solar isn’t cheaper than coal fueled generators so other than being forced to spend grant money or seeking good optics with our area before they gut Gulf Power’s personnel, there’s no business reason for NextEra aka Florida Power and Light to build this.

  11. Gregg Sottnick on December 11th, 2018 4:05 pm

    GRATE !!!!!!
    Keep it going

  12. tg on December 11th, 2018 3:48 pm

    Wonder if i could herd my sheep there to keep the grass down and they would have shelter at night.

  13. Chelleepea on December 11th, 2018 3:39 pm

    Maintenance is pretty much employee free but they will need people for construction and clearing of the land so good news for some workers in our area.

  14. Willis on December 11th, 2018 3:28 pm

    Hopefully, mic, this is a renewable energy source.

  15. Neal on December 11th, 2018 2:42 pm

    Solar power isn’t just for sunny days, anymore. They have these things called batteries!

    Investment tip: utility grade battery manufacturers.

    Will this power go to your house? Probably not if you are an EREC customer. You know, those of us who live near the solar farm! EREC hates solar, saying that it is dangerous and expensive.

  16. Esc co leo on December 11th, 2018 2:36 pm

    Half days of sunshine is still producing power… better than nothing. You have to start someplace.

  17. Stevie Hoven on December 11th, 2018 2:31 pm

    it is actually 60% sunshine

  18. Neal on December 11th, 2018 2:02 pm

    Great location, right on a power line. Ironically, it will be right near 2 existing private solar installations, which are so rare in this area.

    Gulf Power needs to put in a solar farm at their nuke site on Camp Rd. It would put the land into power production and maybe they’ll then decide they don’t need the nuke after all.

    Solar is now the cheapest form of power plant to build and operate.

  19. Nice on December 11th, 2018 10:24 am

    Nice! It’s unfortunate no full time employee will be needed onsite but clean energy is still a win.

  20. MARK MURPHY on December 11th, 2018 10:10 am

    Clean energy is great, but as the county grows,wildlife has less and less habitat.

  21. Wilykyote on December 11th, 2018 9:48 am

    640 acres equals about a square mile of land . Not much when considering
    the added Megawatts produced. Only questions are does a Solar farm
    of that size have any affect on humans,livestock,lakes,creeks, reception of
    signals such as cell,tv,radio etc. another question is how ambient temperatures
    are affected in the areas around the Solar Farm. Doubt there’d be a decrease in
    power bill for anyone. Just the Utilities getting more megawatts to sell without
    Fossil Fuel being used. Solar seems very good but only works when the Sun is
    in the ON position…..bout 1/2 a day ?

  22. mic hall on December 11th, 2018 7:41 am

    Really! In NWF? We have a 50% plus cloudy days per year. So half of the year the panels will produce nearly no power. For those of you who do not have panels they produce little or no power on cloudy days. The panels need cloud free skys to produce anywhere near their capacity and in our area that is less than half the year.

    Basically this is just to claim non-renewable energy sources.

Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) NorthEscambia.com reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.