What’s twice the size of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, stretches over 270 acres, and can power two Disney theme parks? It’s Disney’s newest and largest solar farm.
Just think of all the energy needed to power the rides, the lights and the vehicles at Disney World in Florida. It’s estimated that these four theme parks use enough energy annually to power up to 80,000 homes. So, it’s not surprising that with a commitment to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2020, The Walt Disney Company is looking to solar energy to help meet its vast energy needs.
This newest solar farm, which came online in February 2019, has a staggering 500,000 solar panels, with an output of 50 megawatts. To put that in perspective, Disney’s Environmental Integration Director, Angie Renner, describes it as “equal to removing 10,000 cars from the road.“
And, in case you’re now picturing banks of unattractive solar panels stretching as far as the eye can see, The Walt Disney Company worked with the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Origis Energy to ensure that more than two-thirds of the solar farm provides an important area of wildlife habitat. Not only does this help support essential pollinators like bees, but they’ve also established an experimental test garden here to conduct ongoing research.
This isn’t Disney’s only initiative to help support the environment. In 2016, its 22-acre solar farm (shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head!), was opened near EPCOT. And there are several other examples of the company showing its green credentials. At Disneyland Paris, Disney relies on geothermal energy to power two theme parks and a hotel. In Tokyo the amazing light parade is powered by solar energy, and future plans include three new cruise ships that will run entirely on natural gas.
So, next time you wish upon a star and fly off to visit Disney World, take a moment to remember that The Walt Disney Company is letting its conscience be its guide and doing its bit to make the world a greener place.