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Switch thrown on Mickey Mouse-shaped solar array near Disney's Epcot Center

As seen from above, a 22-acre solar array has been installed by Duke Energy Florida near Epcot Center. The array, which was symbolically turned on Tuesday, started generating power in early March, producing up to 5 megawatts of electricity.
As seen from above, a 22-acre solar array has been installed by Duke Energy Florida near Epcot Center. The array, which was symbolically turned on Tuesday, started generating power in early March, producing up to 5 megawatts of electricity.
Published Apr. 12, 2016

Duke Energy Florida's latest big solar project is something of a Mickey Mouse operation.

A large, symbolic switch was thrown on Tuesday during a ceremony at Walt Disney World for a 22-acre solar array not far from Epcot Center that is shaped into a large Mickey Mouse head.

The array, which actually started generating power in early March, can produce up to 5 megawatts of electricity. That is enough energy to power about 820 homes.

Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District entered into a 15-year agreement with Duke to buy power generated by the solar project, which Duke will operate.

"As a company that cares about the environment, we continually take steps of varying sizes to benefit the environment and protect the planet," said Angie Renner, environmental integration director for Walt Disney World Resort. "This new solar facility will help us in our efforts to conserve natural resources."

The solar project is one of several by Duke, which has said it plans to add up to 500 megawatts of solar power by 2024.

The iconic Mickey Mouse head is seen everywhere on Disney properties, often called "Hidden Mickeys." Many are tiny and hard to spot, carefully concealed in the architecture of a building, or elsewhere as part of the design of a wall or even in the rocks of a fireplace.

Finding them is often sport for the more-dedicated Disney fans.

If you think the solar array is the largest hidden Mickey in existence, guess again.

As the Orlando Sentinel reports, the record is held by a 60-acre "Mickey Forest" in Clermont, east of U.S. 27, that sits in a burned-out orange grove. Disney finished planting seedlings in 1992 that grew into the familiar shape on land owned by the entertainment giant.

Contact William R. Levesque at levesque@tampabay.com. Follow @Times_Levesque.

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