Tri-County Electric Cooperative has an ongoing commitment – to provide our Members, like you, at the end of the line, with safe, affordable, and reliable electricity. To do this, TCEC works hand in hand with its wholesale power provider, Seminole Electric Cooperative (Seminole). Seminole is a generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative that is partially owned by TCEC and eight other distribution electric cooperatives in Florida. Collectively, approximately 1.6 million people and businesses in parts of 42 Florida counties rely on Seminole's Member cooperatives for electricity.
In order to meet the electricity demand of 1.6 million Floridians, Seminole has owned and purchased generation – including coal, natural gas, solar, and other renewable resources.
Seminole’s newest source of generation is Cooperative Solar, a 2.2-megawatt solar facility, located adjacent to MGS.
This Cooperative Solar facility includes more than 8,000 single-axis tracking solar PV panels, which rotate to follow the movement of the sun throughout the day. These panels are composed of numerous PV cells made of silicon and other semiconducting materials that convert solar rays from sunlight into electricity. The electricity generated is transmitted onto the electric grid and becomes a part of the energy mix.
From an aerial view, the Cooperative Solar field is made up of 201 rows. Each individual row has its own motor, or drive unit, that allows the row of panels to move independently from each other. Each motor is operated by a small solar panel, containing a lithium battery and wireless signal that drives the gear to tilt each row to follow the sun.
The rows essentially “wake up” in the morning based on the data signal transmitted from the Network Control box. The signal then travels from the Network Control Box to the small solar panel with wireless, and transmits the signal to the motor or gear drive. The panels begin each day at 60 degrees east and rotate on a wireless signal every 15 minutes until the end the day at ending at 60 degrees to the west.
The electricity generated from Cooperative Solar is transmitted directly to distribution lines owned by Peace River Electric Cooperative, a Member of Seminole, headquartered in Wauchula, Florida.
The current and historical output data from the Cooperative Solar facility is collected through a Cooperative Solar Dashboard. You can view and export that information here: http://www.seminole-electric.com/facilities/solar-dashboard/ .
Since coming online in August, Seminole’s Cooperative Solar facility has overcome a few obstacles, causing output from the facility to be lower than expected, but our operations are continuously improving.
TCEC has decided to postpone the Cooperative Solar subscription program and incorporate the current output from the solar panels as a valuable part of TCEC’s energy mix, along with natural gas, coal, hydropower and purchased power agreements. Member's who were subscribed to co-op solar and those on the waiting list were never charged a subscription fee nor did they receive any kWh credits from the panels productions.
Cooperative Solar is Seminole’s first solar project, but is not expected to be their last. TCEC in partnership with Seminole Electric, will remain involved in future energy needs, including solar, in order to continue providing you, our Members, with safe, affordable, and reliable electricity.
Contact Kaitlynn Culpepper at 850.973.2285, ext 206. with any questions or concerns and to be added to the mailing list for future opportunities to participate in solar projects.
Tri-County Electric Cooperative Participates in Ribbon-Cutting Event for New 2.2-Megawatt Cooperative Solar Facility
(L-R) TCEC Community Relations Specialist Kaitlynn Culpepper, Board Trustee Catherine Bethea, Board Trustee Junior Smith, TCEC CEO Julius Hackett, Board Trustee Elmer Coker, Board Trustee Malcolm Page, and Board Trustee George Webb
Bowling Green, FL—On December 7, 2016, Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC) participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Hardee County, Florida to commemorate the unveiling of a 2.2-megawatt solar facility.
Approximately one hundred people, including TCEC board of trustees Mr. Malcolm Page, Mrs. Catherine Bethea, Mr. Elmer Coker, Mr. George Webb, and Mr. Junior Smith were on-hand for the special event. Julius Hackett, CEO and Kaitlynn Culpepper, Community Relations Specialist, were also in attendance. The ceremony was presided over by Seminole Electric Cooperative’s CEO and General Manager, Lisa D. Johnson, and the President of its board of directors, Mr. William Hart. TCEC is a member of Seminole Electric Cooperative as Seminole is TCEC’s wholesale power provider.
Julius Hackett said of the event: “There is a lot of excitement among our members about solar in Florida. Cooperative Solar projects, like this facility, are being developed to make sure that our members can have safe, hassle-free ways of accessing the benefits of solar technology.”
During her remarks, Seminole CEO and General Manager Lisa Johnson highlighted the hard work of, and extensive collaboration between, personnel from Seminole, Farm Credit Leasing, and Radiance Solar, who together enabled the construction of the solar energy facility. She noted, “Cooperative Solar, among other initiatives, has been one more way in which Seminole can secure our Members’ future while upholding cooperative values,” and continued, “we are careful about how we plan and use resources today, and we are working to embrace new resources for the future.”
The 2.2-megawatt solar facility is comprised of more than 8,000 panels and is located on the grounds of Seminole’s combined cycle natural gas-fired Midulla Generating Station. This facility will be the first large-scale, Cooperative Solar project which TCEC and Seminole have been involved.