Disney Goes Green With Half A Million Solar Panels To Power Their Theme Parks

It might be surprising to learn that the corporation that brought us Mickey Mouse is one of the leaders in tackling greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Well, Disney’s goal is to reach half the emissions it had in 2012 by the year 2020.

The Disney company has a long tradition of dedication and commitment to environmental stewardship. It began with Walt Disney himself and it has only continued to grow due to the support and passion from Disney cast members.

Bob Iger, chief executive of Disney, claims that his aim is to make Disney the most admired company in the world, while Mark Penning, vice president of Disney’s animals, science and environment team, says that they are trying to be responsible citizens of the world, as their guests tell them that the environment is important, so they appreciate it and work hard to preserve it.

One of the numerous initiatives by Walt Disney World Resort, in collaboration with the Reedy Creek Improvement District and solar project developer Orgis Energy USA, will bring a new 270-acre, 50-megawatt solar facility online, located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom, that will generate enough renewable clean energy to power two of its four theme parks in Central Florida.

Orgis Energy’s Scott Shivley, when asked about the rising corporate trend of using solar energy, said that numerous companies are starting to understand the carbon footprint they leave and their effects across the globe.

Reedy Creek director John Giddens added that companies also find it much easier to be cost-effective and meet the goals of renewable energy.

The factory is a part of Disney’s continued commitment to this cause. It has launched multiple efforts to deliver its 2020 goal of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by 50% compared to 2012.

The facility, with the help of its half a million solar panels, will decrease greenhouse gas emissions by more than 57,000 tons annually. As the company reported that it has reduced its global emissions by 41 percent in 2017, the 50 percent by 2020 target is very achievable.

Moreover, the Disney cast members for this project involves representatives from Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment and Horticulture teams who work together to find the best ways to make the solar facility pollinator friendly, with rich wildflowers and vegetation, that would become a safe and welcoming habitat for butterflies, bees and other insects, as well as endangered and at-risk species.

The company has already unveiled a five-megawatt solar facility near Epcot that was developed in conjunction with the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Duke Energy, and when the sun’s peak hours, the facilities generate renewable clean energy to provide up to 25 percent of the power needs at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

Here is a list of the other sustainability and renewable energy projects by Disney across the globe:

  • Disneyland California: Adventure Park powered by 1,400 high-efficiency solar panels.
  • Central Florida: a 5 MW, 48,000 solar-panel facility in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head.
  • Disneyland Tokyo: an electric light parade powered by solar panels on 8 rooftops.
  • Cruise ships: Disney is building t3 cruise ships to run on natural gas.
  • 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.

According to Gregory Wetstone, chief executive of the American Council on Renewable Energy, while some renewable energy advocates would like Disney to do even more to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, it is a fact that Disney’s leadership in this area will definitely encourage others.

Therefore, these efforts by the company are an important part of the trend that’s changing the nation’s grid.