Duke Energy panels deploy for nearly 250 kW on Florida’s Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Published on September 14, 2022 by Chris Galford

© Duke Energy

A new collaborative effort between Duke Energy and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Pinellas County, Fla., is bringing 250 kW of AC power to the region, thanks to 665 solar panels now harvesting for the grid.

Dubbed the Dolphin Solar Canopy, this array of photovoltaic panels is the latest solar facility Duke has deployed in Florida. It spans the top floor of the aquarium’s parking garage and, in addition to producing energy, provides shade for the vehicles parked beneath it, all while helping replace carbon emissions.

“Bringing solar to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium will have such a meaningful impact on our environment, the marine life that are cared for at this facility, and the thousands of visitors who leave inspired to make a difference in the communities we serve,” Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president, said.

The new addition, which debuted this week, followed an $80 million expansion for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in 2020, which added a 1.5 million gallon habitat for its dolphins. Now, alongside the new panels, Duke deployed four electric vehicle charging stations to the second floor of the parking garage. Any guests, staff, interns, or volunteers at the aquarium will be able to use those stations to power up.

“The same building that provides us the opportunity to share the work we do in the wild to preserve our environment with guests around the world is now able to serve a dual purpose,” Lisa Oliver, Clearwater Marine Aquarium COO, said. “Through our partners at Duke Energy, we are now able to take advantage of our building footprint in a whole new way by providing clean energy for folks throughout Florida.”