By the end of the year, the Walt Disney Company will flip the switch on its new 50-megawatt solar power facility. In typical Disney fashion, the facility is yet another hidden bit of magic just outside the Animal Kingdom, comprised of more than a half-million solar panels and spread over the 270-acre designated renewable energy area. Once operational, the solar panels will generate enough to fully power two of the four parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
This is the not the first step Disney has taken to change its practices and reduce its environmental footprint, but it is a big one and designed to work with local energy partners to keep pushing the bar of responsibility. In fact, the new facility is a collaboration with the Reedy Creek Improvement District as well as solar project developer Origis Energy USA. Not far away in central Florida, Disney opened another solar facility over 22 acres with 48,000 solar panels, this time in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. For this project, they partnered with Duke Energy in a further show of their commitment to going green. Disney is quickly emerging as a renewable energy force and other companies are following suit.
Going forward, Disney is learning from its mistakes and pushing on. In 2015, it tried out a new line of “green” buses but found they didn’t reduce carbon emission enough. But with that experience, three new cruise ships will set sail in 2021, 2022, and 2023 that run on clean-burning liquefied natural gas.
Walt Disney dreamed of sustainable parks, leading to Epcot. Following in his steps and dreams, Mark Penning, vice president of Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment, lives a daily routine of sustainable practices. With the Disney legacy standing tall, Dr. Penning pushes for the Walt Disney Company to be recognized worldwide, “Not just for creating incredible content, but for being a responsible citizen of the world.”
Photo credit: Disney