Power To The People – Arcadia, Florida

With the “green” movement in full force right now, I wasn’t surprised that I got a chance to work with some items that are going to help our planet. Living here in Florida, we are known as the “Sunshine State”. There is much of Florida that is not developed yet, so we have lots of room for “green” items.

One of my clients called and wanted me to go photograph Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) new solar farm. I packed my gear and headed out to Arcadia, Florida. I drove deep into farm country. Lola who I call my GPS system said that I had arrived. I was sitting in the middle of a dirt road. I thought that Lola had to many drinks for lunch again. I kept driving and I finally came upon a chain link gate. It had the FPL logo and a warning sign it so I figured that I had to be at the right place. I pulled in and I immediately saw the solar panel that President Obama signed during his visit. This was neat as I figured this was as close as I will ever get to the president. I walked into the office and was greeted by the staff. I was given a hard hat and safety glasses. I explained that the client was doing a story on clean energy and if they could show me around that would be great. A few minutes later I was in a big Ford F-350, going down another dirt road. Soon we came upon another chain link fence with more warning signs. I was beginning to wonder if I was entering Area 51, and I was going to disappear forever. There they were, solar panels, lots and lots of solar panels. The driver stopped the truck and I we got out and I started to walk around. I took a couple of close ups and I asked how far back these went. He pulled out a ladder and told me I should go take a look. I shimmied up the ladder and there were solar panels as far as the eye could see. In fact, this is the biggest solar farm in North America. This facility supplies power to many homes in the DeSoto County area. Again, I took a few photos and we moved on.

Acres and acres of solar panels converting sunlight into power.

These panels are called photovoltaic panels. I believe he said that they are made in the Philippians. Once the funds and congress gives its approval, they hope to have many more solar farms like this one. The panels are rotated via a computer to track the sun. The suns trajectory is programmed into the computer allowing the direct sunlight to illuminate the panels all hours of the day. The energy that is created by one section of panels is sent to a sub station near by. In the sub station it is amplified and sent to the main station. Once the power reaches the main station, it is amplified once again and sent out over high energy transmission lines to service people’s homes.

Since we live in hurricane country I asked what do they do to protect their investment. They can make the panels lie flat parallel with the ground. This position creates the least wind resistance against the panels.

It’s neat to see first hand how we are helping our planet. If all goes as planned, look for a solar farm in your neck of the woods.

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean

Spencer

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