Disney Celebrates Earth Day With New Solar Facility

Walt Disney World Resort Celebrates Earth Day With Massive New Solar Facility Capable of Powering Two Theme Parks

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. April 2019 —  With Earth Day just a few days away the Walt Disney World Resort is celebrating with the unveiling of a massive new 270-acre, 50-megawatt solar facility. Built in collaboration with the Reedy Creek Improvement District and solar developer Origis Energy USA, the new solar farm is harnessing power from the sun to bring the magic to life for guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort from around the globe.

The Solar Facility

Located adjacent to State Road 429, the facility is expected to generate enough renewable clean energy to operate two of Disney’s four theme parks in Central Florida annually. It will also significantly reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by tens of thousands of tons per year, joining the numerous efforts The Walt Disney Company has launched to deliver its 2020 goal of reducing emissions by 50% compared to 2012.

More than a half a million solar panels
More than a half a million solar panels make up the new 270-acre solar facility that’s helping to power the magic at Walt Disney World Resort. The facility was built in collaboration with the Reedy Creek Improvement District and solar project developer Origis Energy USA. (Origis Energy)

At Disney, every day is Earth Day, and we hope our guests and cast members will be as inspired and amazed as we are at what this new solar facility means for our community and planet. This is an ambitious step forward for our renewable energy efforts.

Angie Renner -Environmental Integration Director, Disney Parks

KEY FACTS:

  • The facility features over half a million solar panels, spans 270 acres and is capable of reaching 50 megawatts of power.
  • During peak sun hours, up to 25% of Walt Disney World’s power needs will be met through solar energy.
  • The facility will generate enough renewable clean energy to power two of Walt Disney World’s four theme parks annually.
  • This is the largestsolar facility in Orange County at 50 megawatts.
  • This solar facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50,000 tons per year, the equivalent of removing about 10,000 cars from the roads annually.
  • Disney environmental and horticulture experts helped make more than two-thirds of the facility pollinator friendly with plant species that attract insects like butterflies and bees.
  • This solar facility provides power to Walt Disney World Resort, the largest single-site employer in the country.

Habitat For Native Wildlife

The solar facility is also providing an important habitat for native wildlife in Central Florida. A team of environmental and horticulture experts from Disney collaborated to help make more than two-thirds of the facility pollinator friendly, with the goal of creating a nurturing and welcoming habitat for butterflies, bees and other insects, including endangered and at-risk species.

Rachel Smith from Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team
Rachel Smith from Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team helps oversee the growth of plants in the pollinator test garden at the new solar facility, providing an important habitat for insects, which are important to the ecosystem. (Olga Thompson)

The team is also managing and monitoring an experimental test garden at the facility. They want to conduct research and further enhance the habitat for years to come. The effort to safeguard endangered pollinators aligns with the Disney Conservation Fund’s ongoing focus on saving wildlife, including butterflies.

Disney Cast Members
Disney Cast Members have collaborated to help make more than two-thirds of the new solar facility pollinator friendly, with the goal of creating a safe and welcoming habitat for butterflies, bees and other insects, including endangered and at-risk species. (Olga Thompson)

The solar facility represents the largest endeavor in solar energy to date for Disney’s global theme park operations. In 2016, Walt Disney World Resort unveiled a 22-acre, 5-megawatt solar facility shaped like Mickey Mouse, as part of a collaboration with the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Duke Energy.

Both facilities are contributing to Disney’s long-term sustainability goals, which include reaching zero net greenhouse gas emissions, reaching zero waste, reducing single-use plastics and conserving water resources.

These conservation efforts build on the longtime commitment to environmental stewardship by The Walt Disney Company, a tradition that began with Walt Disney himself, and has grown through the creativity and passion of its cast members.

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Mike Blue is The Social Introvert – An introvert with some, and extrovert with many. Mike’s been collecting toys of his childhood and wondering Central Florida for over 35 years. He holds his certification in Plant-Based nutrition, loves exploring the small towns of Florida, and is the most approached unapproachable man on the planet….and he likes that! 

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