A new facility that  officials call a solar farm will be built at the west end of the runway on Hamilton Road and will generate enough electricity to serve 2,000 homes.

It will be the biggest solar farm at an airport in the country, Lakeland Electric officials said.

The city utility will make an announcement about the new 45-acre solar farm at 2 p.m. on Wednesday at the Sun e_SSRqn Fun Fly-In.

Jeff Curry, alternative energy coordinator for Lakeland Electric, said Monday that the utility and Maryland-based SunEdison plan to install 18,000 solar panels at the airport by 2012.

The panels will generate 5½ megawatts of power. A megawatt equals one million watts of power.

The city already has installed solar panels on top of The Lakeland Center.

Those panels cover the size of about an acre.

At its peak, the solar facility will produce enough electricity to power 2,000 homes.

The type of solar collectors at the airport will be non-reflective or what Curry called photovoltaic.

source: theledger