Illuminating a Sustainable Path: Legacy Vacation Resorts’ Solar Initi
Legacy Vacation Resorts, a well-established resort property owner operating out of Orlando, Florida, has embarked on a mission to harness the abundant sunshine synonymous with its home state. The company has commissioned four solar systems, installed on rooftops and ground locations across central Florida, with a predicted annual yield exceeding 2 million kWh.
The solar arrays were set up by Optimus Energy Solutions, a Florida-based firm specializing in solar, storage, and EV charging solutions. The locations for these installations include Kissimmee, Lake Buena Vista, Clearwater, and Palm Coast, with capacities of 760 kW, 147 kW, 205 kW, and 402 kW respectively.
Ben Pauluhn, Optimus Energy’s president, disclosed to pv magazine USA that the installations are primarily on vacation property rooftops. However, a portion of the capacity, approximately 35 kW, was ground-mounted adjacent to the buildings.
The installations comprise 3,700 domestically-assembled JinkoSolar 410 W modules, SolarEdge inverters, and Ironridge racking hardware. Greentech Renewables assisted with distribution solutions for project assembly.
Each solar system occupies a different utility grid territory within Florida, and every installation qualifies for full net metering under the existing state law. Climate First Bank, a St. Petersburg-based community lender, has pledged project financing to the resort property solar portfolio.
As a certified B Corp, Legacy Vacation Resorts is committed to creating a positive social and environmental impact. “Investing in solar energy in partnership with Optimus Energy Solutions provides an extremely effective way to positively impact our environment and generate a financial return for the company,” stated Alex Smith, the COO of Legacy Vacation.
Legacy Vacation operates eight properties in Florida, Nevada, Colorado, and New Jersey. Since 2018, the company has achieved an 8% reduction in its carbon footprint, undergone a sustainability audit, and planned on-site solar projects. With the newly installed 1.51 MW of on-site solar projects, Legacy Vacation will generate 40% of its electricity from renewable energy, with a vision of reaching net-zero across all its properties by 2030.
The company also incorporates EV charging stations at every property and is considering on-site energy storage. The Brigantine, N.J. facility offsets its carbon footprint by purchasing annual renewable energy certificates (REC). Additionally, Legacy Vacation has partnered with the nonprofit We Are Neutral to fund energy efficiency upgrades in low-income Florida communities, plant native trees, practice urban agriculture, and capture landfill methane gas.