Gulf Power To Begin Construction On Huge North Escambia Solar Farm Soon; Second Solar Farm Planned Nearby

January 11, 2021

Gulf Power will begin construction on a huge solar farm near McDavid in the next few months, and has learned plans are in the works for a second solar facility in the same area.

At 74.2 megawatts, the Cotton Creek Creek Solar Energy Center will generate enough electricity to power 15,000 homes annually, according to Gulf Power. The Escambia County Development Review Committee granted approval for the Cotton Creek solar farm in November 2020.

“We are excited to announce that construction will begin on Cotton Creek in the late part of the first quarter of this year or early part of the second quarter,” Gulf Power spokesperson Kimberly Blair said. “However, you may see some site preparation work being done before the start of construction. Our anticipated completion date is the end of 2021.” was first to report in December 2019 that facility was planned for West Bogia Road. Documents show the project to be about 640 acres, only 353.18 acres of which will be disturbed. The development is planned for an area north of West Bogia Road between South Pine Barren Road and Highway 29, just west of Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church.

And now Gulf Power is seeking the necessary permits for the First City Solar Energy Center off Holland, Cox and Roach roads in McDavid. It will be 74.5 megawatts, also enough to power another 15,000 homes annually.

“We are in the early stages of developing the proposed First City Solar Energy Center on our company-owned property in North Escambia,” Blair said. “We are currently applying for permits to construct the 74.5 megawatt site. We won’t have a construction start date for First City until the permitting is approved.”

The First City Solar Center will encompass about 554 acres with about 458 acres to be disturbed for approximately 300,000 solar panels.

Both projects are expected to create 200-250 jobs during peak construction.

Pictured top: Plans for the First City Solar Energy Center. Pictured below: Plans for the Cotton Creek Solar Energy Center. graphics.


21 Responses to “Gulf Power To Begin Construction On Huge North Escambia Solar Farm Soon; Second Solar Farm Planned Nearby”

  1. Mel Gibson on January 14th, 2021 2:31 pm

    I hope they have a good contingency plan for doing this type of build in Hurricane Alley.

  2. jerry on January 14th, 2021 12:29 pm

    hi jay, you are so right about what you said. i am an igorenant conspiral theorest.
    you are part correct but you go too far about this subject. yes there is global warming
    and the weather has been going in cycles for years and we may contribute to some of this cycle of global warming but not much. yes china pollutes more than us and we pay for it with taxpayer money, don’ get me wrong i am for alternative sources of energy but i just can’t stand the tree huggers. in 1975 i converted my house in Hawaii to use a solar panel to heat my water, so i am a pioneer in the field. i beleive that
    1 volcano eruption causes more pollution than we could in 100 years. i do not believe in man made global warming.

  3. Gary Himert on January 12th, 2021 11:57 am

    @ CW about grass and weed trimming near solar farms: Believe it or not, there are companies that have a fleet of goats that they move around between sites to provide vegetation maintenance, as its called in the utility industry.

  4. CW on January 12th, 2021 10:48 am

    How are they going to control the grass and weeds around the panels, in an environmentally friendly way?

  5. who dat on January 12th, 2021 8:21 am

    People….this small patch of land is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the total deforestation on this planet.

    I think this small sacrifice of land for reusable energy is quite alright.


    Geaux Saints!

  6. Bill on January 12th, 2021 2:00 am

    In keeping with the area’s long standing opposition to progress, we should burn old tires in the Technology Park lot that remained laughably vacant for years. Then, we use some clever third rate branding by stating “with offices in New York” to mask the fact that we remain a Florida backwater county.

    Solar farms are a great idea, very progressive, and you can support them and still vote republican and misspell “Allektricity.”

  7. I’ve worked in Solar Plants on January 12th, 2021 12:46 am

    To all you who are saying “put them on roofs of buildings”, put them on superfund sites, or put them in old shopping centers….
    Did you look at the acreage required?? Do you all realize how a solar panel works? How many buildings would be required to match 458 acres? Are you going to cry about the extra infrastructure needed to tie them all together? What about the lines? We hardly run any utilities underground so they would be strung up all over!
    Best bet and a helluva lot smaller footprint would be a Nuclear power plant! And that would create a lot of high paying jobs.

  8. StraightShooter on January 11th, 2021 7:19 pm

    “Steve” The superfund sites I think a great idea for these solar farms. Lots of acreage that cant be used for anything else. All they have can say is we destroyed 500+ acres for nothing.

  9. Bama on January 11th, 2021 5:44 pm

    “has anyone calculated and published cost over 20 years for residential use of natural gas and propane powered home generators for different prices over a periods?”

    The whole house generator I have burns 2 + gallons of propane per hour. Great for short term during power outage but not for long term.

  10. Country girl on January 11th, 2021 5:37 pm

    Why in the north end of the county, why not in Pensacola? Tear down some of the old shopping centers that are empty and put it there but no let’s mess up some more of the natural environment!

  11. Richard on January 11th, 2021 5:34 pm

    I understand that tree huggers don’t like blacktop because it raises the Earth’s temperature too. It seems to me they should be angry over black solar panels absorbing heat in the summer and that they add to global warming. Can’t they make a white solar panel?

  12. Wizard on January 11th, 2021 5:33 pm

    Agreed. These panels should be put into the roofs of the major polluters in this county (on their dime), I don’t think I need to name names. Steve is right, what about superfund sites or that joke of a golf course in Cantonment? And what about that natural gas pipeline per Randon’s comment? I think the idea is to just keep building until nothing is left until you hit the Alabama border. Current trajectory in my opinion.

  13. Steve on January 11th, 2021 3:37 pm

    Jay…. Why do you make up stories about what CONSERVATIVES want?

    I am with the ones not wanting to see HUGE tracts of land for this project.

    I also understand why its hard(er) to put these on homes, as there is a lot of variation in roofs and sun exposure, but its a good idea to save on the waste of space.

    ALSO.. There are a few Super Fund sites around here where no buildings or residential homes can be built on, why not use those for the solar farms?

  14. Randon on January 11th, 2021 3:34 pm

    Sure, why not? We already have a giant power line running through our yard, with most recently a natural gas pipeline 30ft to the east having been added. Now, acres and acres of eyesore solar panels just a mile down the road? Hey Gulf Power, find another neighborhood to invade!!

  15. Jimmy Paul on January 11th, 2021 12:06 pm

    has anyone calculated and published cost over 20 years for residential use of natural gas and propane powered home generators for different prices over a periods?

  16. Jay on January 11th, 2021 11:25 am

    Aww, come on Escambia, you can do better than this!
    I want to hear more outrage and cynicism about how anything good for the environment is undoubtedly evil. I mean, your conservative elected representatives have spent decades teaching you to hate anything that isn’t coal/oil based, and now I expect to hear you all stepping up to prove that their time and money didn’t go to waste!
    Someone talk about how plants like CO2.
    Or someone talk about how it doesn’t matter if we pollute because China pollutes more.
    Or sun flares.
    Or how it’s really cold outside today, and so that absolutely proves that global warming is just a hoax.
    Come on. I want to hear your ignorant conspiracy theories. This article is the perfect place to make them heard!

  17. Paul on January 11th, 2021 9:46 am

    I agree with Wizard. Wouldn’t it be easier to install those panels on existing roofs?
    Just have a deal where the customer pays installation fees and Gulf retains ownership of the panels.

    1. You don’t have clear all that land or you could use it for something else
    2. You use existing space that is typically empty
    3. You’d reflect some heat that would otherwise be warming a building
    4. You spread your infrastructure out so a natural disaster has a lesser impact

  18. Rate payer on January 11th, 2021 8:56 am

    It would be nice to know the impact solar farms constructed by our utility company will have on our future rates? It seems like solar farms are a more economical idea than everyone having their own system. But if my thought is true then it seems like Gulf Power would brag about that to discourage customers from purchasing their own equipment. Anyone know?

  19. Wizard on January 11th, 2021 8:24 am

    Cutting down trees and clearing land for sustainable energy, that makes sense.
    Why not use land that is already ruined?
    And why not just install those panels on roofs with barren surface area?
    Has it ever occurred to anyone that undisturbed areas could be worth more than those commercialized?
    I guess it simply depends who you ask.

  20. Anne on January 11th, 2021 6:29 am

    WOW…Wonder what is the life span of these solar panels and how they are recycled or disposed of when they are worn out or advances in technology require new ones?

  21. Tom on January 11th, 2021 3:25 am

    This is great news, I myself already use solar to offset my electric bill. But I imagine this solar farm will give them a much needed buffer during daylight and dark if battery banks are on-site. They do pay for themselves because of the longevity of the panels themselves 25+ years.

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