Construction Begins On McDavid Solar Farm; Second Nearby Solar Site Still In The Works

February 25, 2021

On Wednesday, Gulf Power announced the start of construction on a huge solar farm near McDavid, as plans are still in the works for a second solar facility in the same area.

At 74.2 megawatts, the Cotton Creek Creek Solar Energy Center (graphic above) 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. 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 in an area north of West Bogia Road between South Pine Barren Road and Highway 29, just west of Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Gulf Power is also currently 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.

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.

Gulf Power has also announced that construction is beginning on the 74.5 megawatt Blue Springs Solar Energy Center in Jackson County.

“As part of FPL, we’re ushering in a more sustainable future for Northwest Florida by delivering cleaner, lower-cost energy and increasing reliability while keeping costs down for our customers,” said Mike Spoor, Gulf Power vice president. “With each solar farm that we build, we’re reducing our carbon footprint and providing cleaner air for our region, ensuring we keep Northwest Florida beautiful for generations to come, while also benefiting the local economy with the contribution of hundreds of thousands of additional tax dollars.”

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


26 Responses to “Construction Begins On McDavid Solar Farm; Second Nearby Solar Site Still In The Works”

  1. Johnny on March 1st, 2021 12:03 am

    Trees grew on the Antarctic continent the last time the CO2 levels were as high as they are today. Wind and solar may make us feel we are “doing something” to mitigate the issue. Unfortunately, it is probably to late. Even if by some miracle all CO2 emissions worldwide were to completely stop it would still all be for naught. We are all aboard this train and we have no choice but to ride it out. So love the solar farm or hate it. What is going to matter most is how deep a hole you can dig to eventually hide in.

  2. 429SCJ on February 28th, 2021 11:11 pm

    In 10,000 years, there will be no trace of this solar farm and the issues and circumstances associated with it.

    Things have a way of working themselves out; give it time.

  3. David Huie Green on February 28th, 2021 10:31 pm

    “you have the scientist (with govt & BG funding) attached to tackling “global warming” paying thousands of planes to fly at high altitudes, spraying millions of tons of particles around the planet to create a massive chemical cloud that would cool the surface (ie: block the sun), please explain to me how solar will provide us the much needed electricity to power our homes and feed our families?”
    “This isn’t conspiracy, it’s facts”

    Nah. It’s conspiracy theory/paranoia. Not the idea — that’s been kicked around for decades. The claim that it is happening and/or committed to be done is nutso hogwash.

    But even if it were on the approved list, the idea was to reduce the energy reaching the surface by a fraction of the total. What would have been one kilowatt per square meter might drop to 0.995 kilowatt per square meter.

    Crops would still grow. People could still see. Solar farms would still turn sunlight into electrical power.
    The sky wouldn’t fall and isn’t falling.

    David for less panic

  4. David Huie Green on February 28th, 2021 10:07 pm

    Paul Alge Moore is reasonable and sensible and has been since at least 1966. How many of us can honestly say the same?

    Okay, me, obviously. But how many in all?

    David for better people

  5. Kevin on February 27th, 2021 7:54 am

    I live in Wisconsin where a 350 MW solar project is being built. What they are doing to productive land that used to grow crops is borderline criminal. It will be impossible to decommission this project and return the land to it’s former state. They are pounding thousand upon thousands of I beams 12 feet deep, hailing in thousands of loads of gravel, breaker run, and boulders to eliminate water runoff. They’re mixing cement with the soil to make a semi solid base for roads. God awful looking.

  6. J.Larry Seale on February 26th, 2021 11:28 pm

    The demand will outstrip solar power from these farm with in three to four years !!!!
    Also, they are being subdised by the federal goverment……
    so the taxpayer get it from both end,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  7. jay on February 26th, 2021 1:21 pm

    All of the climate change deniers are suddenly upset about offsetting less than 300 acres of wildlife in a county where they say nothing about the countless hideous clay pits everywhere, and more being dug every year.
    Just parroting the stuff they heard their favorite alt-right politician and/or pundit say. Conservatives will always be the ultimate sheeple.

  8. Neal on February 26th, 2021 1:11 pm

    The best solar is solar with battery at your own house. The best commercial solar has batteries and hopefully Next Era will add batteries in Bogia. They have a good many batteries at sites around Florida.
    Don’t complain about your Gulf Power/Florida Power bill…it is lower than an EREC bill. Solar is now hands down the cheapest generation to build and produce. With the addition of batteries, it is becoming more practical. This should help keep your power bills low and increase my Next Era stock dividends.
    For those concerned about wildlife, they love solar farms. I have deer, turkey and all manner of critters who don’t seem the least bit concerned about my panels. Many producers plant wildflowers to encourage the pollinator population, too.
    As for appearance, I attended the hearings and there will be a line of trees blocking the view, which is unusual. I have seen a good many solar farms visible from the road, but I suspect you will have to look hard to catch a glimpse of this one.

  9. Keveo on February 26th, 2021 10:03 am

    One of the fastest growing industries. If GP and other large corporations don’t see a huge need or profit from them, then they would not build them.
    Maybe down the line they will have some sort of Agrivoltaic incorporated into it but right of the bat they could make it a sheep farm or place bee hives there. What a win win, Electricity. Clothes and Food… I’m all for it that!

  10. JMO on February 25th, 2021 7:26 pm

    Solar electricity needs the SUNSHINE in order to charge the solar panels right?

    However, when you have the scientist (with govt & BG funding) attached to tackling “global warming” paying thousands of planes to fly at high altitudes, spraying millions of tons of particles around the planet to create a massive chemical cloud that would cool the surface (ie: block the sun), please explain to me how solar will provide us the much needed electricity to power our homes and feed our families?

    This isn’t conspiracy, it’s facts found in numerous legitimate articles found online, just look for yourself. No sun + no energy + no crops= global disaster. (Lord help us all!) Yeah, I’m not buying it!

  11. Charles Hagg on February 25th, 2021 7:24 pm

    I’m with Bill Gates on this issue. Built wind and solar for carbon free energy and improved design nuclear plants for bad weather days. Gates and I will be hated by those on the right for wanting wind and solar and hated by those on the left for wanting nuclear. Enough of this polarized tribal mentality, some of us just seek something that works.

  12. Paul Alge Moore on February 25th, 2021 2:11 pm

    Just what I expected. Y’all know it’s gonna happen anyway But I love that you finally care about wildlife and the environment even though it took solar panels instead of fossil fuel burning complexes. Love y’all and so does God Take care And yes I use my full name I don’t hide behind cute hashtags and nick names

  13. Mic Hall on February 25th, 2021 11:54 am

    Paul Alge Moore you need more research and not from the national news sources who are biased and untruthful at best.

    The unprecedented cold weather caused a multiday doubling of the normal demand on the electrical grid.

    There was NO solar during that storm. NONE! Thick clouds and snow prevented that.

    For a portion of the storm there was insufficient wind to produce power. Along with that few of the turbines off the coast were working. Much of that was the fault of the companies for not installing the same systems used in northern states for cold weather protection. Of course no one in Texas ever imagined they would get that cold for that long.

    When over 20% of the power supply from renewables is gone from a grid it is nearly impossible to make up the difference under high demand.

    Yes there was bad planning but if you think that solar and wind are enough to supply our power demands you need to do more research. Someday we may have a good replacement for NATGAS as a electric power source but so far that looks to be at least decades away.

  14. chilly willy on February 25th, 2021 11:49 am

    “Fox News to tell you how to think” gotta love the people who are being washed by the left media always act like their news sources are better….ridiculous…. Stacy said “prove me wrong” she is still waiting

  15. Donald W Cooper on February 25th, 2021 11:06 am

    @Paul, I will give you an answer later after I watch FOX NEWS.

  16. Mic Hall on February 25th, 2021 11:03 am

    Escambia county does not get a lot of cloudless days. Even the Government agency the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that this area receives an average of good solar days for less than half the year. Please tell me they are not going to make us dependent on this for power that other half of they year.

    I wonder if they took into account the damage to the environment under the panels. Before installing these panels the ground will be completely defoliated. Nothing will be left alive and that will be maintained to avoid plants growing up to block the panels. If I had 450 acres and wanted to cover it all with shade I would get extensive investigations by the EPA. I guarantee I would not get approval.

  17. Mike on February 25th, 2021 10:48 am

    How is this “keeping NW Florida beautiful”? Solar farms are hideous eyesores.

    Get ready for brownouts and blackouts as a regular fact of life. It’s part of the ‘Great Reset’ and ‘Building Back Better’ – not better for regular folks though, only better for the billionaires, autocrats, and technocrats.

  18. CW on February 25th, 2021 10:38 am

    Solar farms need to be installed on rooftops of large buildings and over large parking lots, two areas that already increase the urban heat island effect. No need to use up valuable land that can be forested and support wildlife.

  19. Mike on February 25th, 2021 10:37 am

    Texas Solar/Wind combined is only about 20% of power generated. What is the excuse for the other 80% that had the same problem?

  20. Paul Alge Moore on February 25th, 2021 10:10 am

    You need to research more before you post Clean energy systems was not the problem in Texas. Why are people so scared of human advancement. I suppose you had rather read by candle and ride a horse Plow with a mule ect…. And then you wouldn’t have Fox News to tell you how to think

  21. sadfarmer on February 25th, 2021 10:09 am

    A shame to waste this much land that could be used for farming, perhaps folks will want to eat these panels at some point when they run out of food and get hungry.

  22. bob on February 25th, 2021 10:04 am

    How much will this increase my monthly bill?

    Why don’t we use the money for the solar farm to pay off the Hurricane Sally utility’s reserve fund and the Hurricane Michael recover charges???

    That would save me $11.00 a month!!!

    Right now Gulf Power customers are paying $206 million for Hurricane Sally costs and you are spending how much on a solar farm???

    Seems like FPL keeps spending money and our bills keep going up.

    FPL should be spending their dollars in the most effective and efficient manner possible as a fiduciary for each customer instead of trying to duplicate the New Green Deal!!!

  23. Okay on February 25th, 2021 10:01 am

    What happened in Texas was not the fault of solar & wind components.

    It was the fact that there was unprecedented power demand and their natural gas facilities did not have adequate winter protections and froze.


  24. Confused on February 25th, 2021 9:36 am

    I appreciate our need to develop sustainable energy in a way that is balanced with currently developed energy production and as a country we need to continue to talk about and research ways to accomplish that. What I do not understand is the need to decimate thousands of acres of live wildlife habitat to do so. Do the treehuggers that desire solar and wind energy simply neglect the fact that they are killing off and displacing not only the wildlife in these areas but eliminating the vegetation so desperately needed to convert and minimize the CO2 in our atmosphere? You can see effects on the landscape when we allow these large solar farms to be built. Just right along side I-10 just west of the I-75 interchange. What a mess!

    You have only to consider what a failure and what a cost to our environment these renewable forms of energy are right now. Wind farms across the country kill thousands of birds each year. Wind farms in New England off Block Island and Long Island have decimated fisheries and destroyed thousands of jobs in the commercial fishing industries. Thousands of jobs have already been lost in the petroleum industry both on land and off shore. Those jobs lost effect not only the families of men and women working in those jobs but the hundreds of businesses supporting those industries. Not just suppliers of the industries but grocers, builders, hardware and pharmaceutical, restaurants of all sorts and so many more.

    The bottom line here seems to be higher energy costs for area residents, more environment destroyed and wildlife killed off, large corporations profiting and a few big shots and politicians get richer. Do you really want this, this way, in our area?

  25. Bill on February 25th, 2021 8:25 am

    I wonder what a cat 3 storm will do to a solar farm

  26. Stacy seale on February 25th, 2021 6:32 am

    You all just seen what happened in Texas solar and wind is not the answer period. Prove me wrong

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