German firm plans area’s largest solar array

Posted by Trish Riley, November 21, 2011

A solar array located near NW 6th Street and U.S. 441 Nov. 17.

A German firm plans to deepen its involvement with the city of Gainesville’s feed-in tariff by constructing the largest solar array in the program.

Sybac Solar plans to build a 6-megawatt solar farm along the 1600 block of Northeast 53rd Avenue — on 62 acres of private property east of Gainesville’s Murphree water treatment plant.

Bill Shepherd, the energy and business services manager for Gainesville Regional Utilities, said the array is expected to be constructed in six phases, with a 2016 build-out.

Sybac already has the largest array in the GRU program — a 2-megawatt plant at 4911 NW Sixth St. that plugged into the grid this year. The city has a 20-year contract to pay Sybac 26 cents a kilowatt hour for the electricity produced from that array, which was the largest privately-owned solar array in the state.

A major renewable energy company in Germany, Sybac has an American headquarters in Lakeland. The GRU feed-in tariff, which pays approved companies a premium rate for the electricity they produce, drew the firm to Gainesville, said Markus Falz, a Sybac project manager.

He said Sybac has in some cases bought up allocation rights from other companies previously approved for the program. Those purchases have allowed Sybac to construct larger solar arrays than it would have been able to by directly applying through the program, which has a 4-megawatt annual cap on what may be approved.

The company’s other local solar installations include a 500-kilowatt array on Waldo Road and a 665-kWh roof array at the United Trucking warehouse that is close to completion, Fallz said.

Continue reading at the Gainesville Sun

By Christopher Curry
Staff writer