Disney Goes Green With Half A Million Solar Panels To Power Their Theme Parks
Walt Disney World Resort recently embarked on a new initiative, in collaboration with the Reedy Creek Improvement District and solar project developer Origis Energy USA, to bring a new 270-acre, 50-megawatt solar facility online that will generate enough renewable clean energy to power two of its four theme parks in Central Florida! It is located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This milestone is just part of Disney’s continued commitment to environmental stewardship.
The Walt Disney Company has launched numerous efforts to deliver its 2020 goal of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by 50% compared to 2012 – the solar facility is but one (a big one) of these efforts. The facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 57,000 tons per year – which is the annual equivalent of removing 9,300 automobiles from the roads – with its half a million solar panels. The company claims to have already reduced its global emissions by 41 percent in 2017 – making the 50 percent by 2020 target look very achievable.
The goodness doesn’t stop at energy production! The Disney cast members for this new project includes representatives from Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment and Horticulture teams. They are collaborating, pooling their unique skills and expertise, to explore ways in which they can make the new solar facility pollinator friendly, with rich wildflowers and vegetation, creating a safe and welcoming habitat for butterflies, bees and other insects, including endangered and at-risk species. This important work aligns perfectly with the Disney Conservation Fund’s “Reverse the Decline” initiative, which aims to reverse the decline of 10 threatened species, including butterflies.
Not Their First Rodeo!
Disney had already unveiled a five-megawatt solar facility near Epcot that was developed in conjunction with the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Duke Energy. During the sun’s peak hours when it is shining brightest, these two facilities together will generate enough renewable clean energy to provide up to 25 percent of the power needs at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
Disney’s renewable efforts are not limited to Florida either! Disney is also involved in many sustainability and renewable energy projects across the globe. These include:
- Central Florida: a 5 MW, 48,000 solar-panel facility shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head.
- Disneyland Tokyo: an electric light parade powered by solar panels on eight rooftops.
- Disneyland California: Adventure Park powered by 1,400 high-efficiency solar panels.
- Disneyland Paris: two theme parks and a hotel powered by geothermal energy.
- Disneyland Shanghai: a heating and cooling plant powered by energy partly created from waste.
- Cruise ships: Disney is building three cruise ships to run on natural gas.
“At our sites around the world, we’re investing in hidden magic to continually reduce our environmental footprint.” – Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney parks, experiences and consumer products
Environmentally Friendly Since Walt
All of this builds on the company’s longtime dedication to environmental stewardship. The tradition of a strong commitment to sustainability began with Walt Disney himself and it has only continued to grow with tremendous support and passion from Disney cast members. Bob Iger, chief executive of Disney, has repeatedly said that he wants Disney to be the most admired company in the world. Mark Penning, vice president of Disney’s animals, science and environment team, added in, “Not just for creating incredible content but for being a responsible citizen of the world… Our guests tell us the environment is important, so it’s a big deal for us.”