Record Setting Solar Array Being Constructed in Oldsmar

Lockheed Martin Corp. solar array. Credit: Lockheed Martin Corp.

The Lockheed Martin Corporation’s solar carport is currently under construction at the company’s facility in Oldsmar. Credit: Lockheed Martin Corp.

With Florida being the Sunshine State, many companies and homeowners choose to take advantage of the free natural resource by harnessing solar power in order to provide clean, “green” energy.

But at the Lockheed Martin Corporation’s facility on Tampa Road in Oldsmar, utilizing the power of the sun is being taken to a record-setting level.

The global security and aerospace company based in Bethesda, Maryland is in the middle of constructing a solar carport that, when completed, will provide 151,400 square feet of protected parking for 534 cars and will allow the company to cut energy costs by sixty percent.

According to officials, upon completion in October, the innovative carport comprised of 7,260 solar panels will be the largest such project of its kind in the state.

The Lockheed Martin solar array in Oldsmar. Credit: Lockheed Martin Corp.

The Lockheed Martin solar array in Oldsmar. Credit: Lockheed Martin Corp.

“There are several interesting aspects of the project, most notably that it will be the largest solar array allowable by Florida law in private hands,” Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce Director BME Jerry Custin told Oldsmar Connect.

“Not only will it provide power to the entire building, it is expected to produce some power that will be put back into the grid,” he added. “It’s a real interesting project. We’re proud that they’re doing it here in Oldsmar.”

According to a press release distributed when the project hit the midway point in June, lead contractor Advance Green Technologies was chosen to design and build the array, which will produce approximately 3.33 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year for 25 years.

Lockheed Martin expects the energy generated by the carport to cut facility energy costs by up to 60 percent, or more than $300,000 in savings annually and $6.5 million over the life of the project.

The project will also reportedly help Lockheed Martin slash greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent and energy use by 25 percent by the year 2020.

“At Lockheed Martin, we look for sustainable solutions with multiple benefits, and the solar carport will deliver long-term, on several fronts,” Lockheed Martin Oldsmar Facility General Manager Curt Engel stated in the press release.

“Drawing on renewable power will reduce our carbon footprint while cutting energy costs significantly.”

Dirt from Lockheed Martin's solar array project is being donated to the City of Oldsmar's new BMX Supercross track.

Dirt from Lockheed Martin’s solar array project is being donated to the City of Oldsmar’s new BMX Supercross track.

There’s another interesting “green” dimension to the environmentally friendly construction project — Lockheed Martin is recycling the inch-deep soil being removed from the entire parking lot and donating it for use at the City of Oldsmar’s new BMX Supercross facility being built nearby.

“We’re delighted our employees will benefit from shaded parking – and pleased that the city will re-use material from our site in creating a unique recreational asset for the community,” Engel stated.

“This is another example of the partnership between the City of Oldsmar and Lockheed Martin and the shared value of environmental stewardship,” Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis stated.

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