Solar Technology at Disney World in Orlando!

Oh wow! What a busy week Alex and I had! We decided that we needed to go and visit Disney World, Orland, Florida branch so that Alex could have the experience of seeing the wonder before he got too much older. I *might* have also wanted to see Goodwill Industries presentation of their solar array (their second!), but why quibble about the specifics of the trip.
Alex begged and pleaded for us to stay at the Caribbean Beach resort at Disney World because he wanted to be a pirate (thanks Captain Jack) and I couldn’t resist his adorable face. Plus, there was direct transportation to the rides in the morning! Alex whined that he wasn’t tired when I laid him down for sleep, but lo and behold he fell asleep immediately. I did some quick research about the Goodwill unveiling the next day, reserved a car, and passed out just as quickly as he did.

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I was woken up by a bouncing babbling child at seven in the morning. I grabbed some coffee, a quick breakfast and we were out the door as quickly as our legs could manage. We had a busy day in front of us!
We decided that we needed to see Magic Kingdom Park and found ourselves immediately swept onto Switch’s Greatest Escape ride, screaming the entire way. We squeezed as many rides in as we could before I had to gently remind Alex that Captain Jack was giving a chat about how to be a pirate soon. We darted off and Alex and I learned how to be sword-fighters and to search for gold. It took every ounce of strength I had to pry Alex away from his idol Captain Jack Sparrow but I wanted to see the unveiling at Goodwill and it was a decent distance away. Of course, Alex got to sleep on the drive there. Not that I’m envious or anything.
We reached Goodwill at the Oveida Retail Store with fifteen minutes before the start of the unveiling. Goodwill has been making great efforts to defray costs and reduce their carbon footprint by investing in massive solar arrays at their facilities. Their first big step during their campaign was at their Waterford Lakes store where they installed 14,000 square foot solar panels on the roof. That system is currently meeting a majority of the stores energy needs-an estimated 76 percent of the annual cost. Those savings went directly back into the community, helping more Florida residents with services and resources to find work.

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This new solar array is 12,000 square feet, and is estimated to save over 5.4 million dollars in energy costs to Goodwill over the next 25 years, with the same savings model being passed on to residents. Between the two facilities, Goodwill Industries is now generating 293 kW, or enough energy to provide energy to twenty-eight homes for the year. This development means amazing things for Florida as they take steps towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly technology.
When the press conference was over, I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep Alex interested much longer and we decided to slip away after I pocketed a few business cards. We made it back to Disney World in time to eat at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and to ride a few more rides before bedtime.
While we have one more day of Disney World tomorrow, I know Alex will complain about how short this trip is. However, the Disney World, Orland, Florida branch is gearing up to follow in Goodwill’s footsteps with a new solar farm near World Drive and Epcot Center Drive with ground breaking beginning this summer. Of course, it will end up being in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head! We may come back much quicker than Alex realizes.

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