A 270-acre, 50-megawatt solar facility at Walt Disney World is now online, generating enough energy to power 10,000 homes annually.

Located west of the Magnolia and Palm golf courses, the facility consists of 518,000 solar panels. It’s a big step up from Disney’s first 22-acre, Mickey Mouse-shaped solar farm near Epcot. 

Calling it a “giant leap forward in our emissions efforts,” Disney World environmental integration director Angie Renner said the new facility “significantly reduce net greenhouse gas emissions, joining the numerous efforts The Walt Disney Company has launched to deliver its 2020 goal of reducing emissions by 50 percent compared to 2012.”

By Disney’s original estimates, the solar facility at Disney World will reduce emissions by more than 57,000 tons annually while generating enough energy to power two Disney World parks.

As noted in an October 2018 New York Times article, however, that’s not where the power is going. Instead of powering the parks, the energy supplied by the solar facilities will go into the local power grid.

Disney has utilized solar panels at its parks for decades, dating back to those which once adorned Epcot’s Universe of Energy pavilion and powered some of the ride’s vehicles. In Anaheim, solar panels on top of Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure supply energy to the park, and Forbes reported in December 2018 that the company was considering building a large solar facility at Disneyland Paris that would handle 15 percent of the resort’s energy needs.

Other Central Florida theme parks have also taken advantage of renewable energy sources. In 2016, Legoland Florida added a canopy of solar panels to its parking lot.

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