Disney builds massive solar facility to cut emissions in half by 2020

Disney, one of world's largest entertainment companies, doubles down on its environmental plan.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Company
  • Disney is taking the lead in reducing greenhouse emissions at its facilities.
  • The company built a giant solar panel installation to power its Florida resort.
  • Disney plans to cut emissions by 50 percent by the year 2020.

You know who's one of the world's leaders in tackling greenhouse gas emissions? You might be surprised to know that the venerable corporation that brought us Mickey Mouse is staying ahead of the pack by following through on its pledge to cut emissions by 50 percent. Disney's goal is to reach half the emissions it had in 2012 by the year 2020.

One big way the entertainment juggernaut is making its commitment a reality is by opening an enormous new 270-acre, 50-megawatt solar facility in Florida. It went online in 2019 to provide clean renewable energy to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. As stated on Disney's blog, the facility will generate so much power, Disney will be able to use it to operate two of its four theme parks in Central Florida.

The new solar farm, consisting of more than half a million panels, will majorly reduce net greenhouse gas emissions, lowering them by more than 57,000 tons per year. As reported by the New York Times, Disney estimates the amount of energy the facility can produce would be enough to power 10,000 homes annually. That's also as much as getting 9,300 cars off the road.

Check out how the new solar factory was put together here -

The new solar farm joins other Disney efforts towards its green goal. In 2016, the company opened a 22-acre, 5-megawatt solar facility that's shaped like Mickey Mouse. Its Tokyo Disneyland also uses solar power from rooftops to generate more than 600 kilowatts for its electrical parade light. Disneyland Paris is also in on the green game, utilizing geothermal energy for the power needed in two of its theme parks as well as a hotel. Disney's Shanghai Resort makes use of a cooling and heating plant that cuts emissions by 60 percent.

"Our guests tell us the environment is important, so it's a big deal for us," explained Mark Penning, vice president of Disney's Animals, Science and Environment in a 2018 interview, adding that the company wants to be admired "not just for creating incredible content, but for being a responsible citizen of the world."

Photo courtesy of Disney

Here's how the Mickey Mouse solar farm looks from the ground.

American education: It’s colleges, not college students, that are failing

Who is to blame for the U.S.'s dismal college graduation rate? "Radical" educator Dennis Littky has a hunch.

Percentage of college student dropouts by age at enrollment: 2-year and 4-year institutions

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • COVID-19 has magnified the challenges that underserved communities face with regard to higher education, such as widening social inequality and sky-high tuition.
  • At College Unbound, where I am president, we get to know students individually to understand what motivates them, so they can build a curriculum based on goals they want to achieve.
  • My teaching mantra: Everything is permitted during COVID-19. Everything is permitted during COVID-19. Everything is permitted during COVID-19.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists observe strange lights in the heart of the Milky Way

Astronomers spot periodic lights coming from near the black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Hot spots around the black hole at the center of the Milky Way may produce periodic lights.

Credit: Keio University
Surprising Science
  • Astronomers in Japan observe periodic lights coming from the region near the black hole at the center of our galaxy.
  • The twinkling may be produced by hot spots in the accretion disk around the black hole.
  • The mysterious region studied features extreme gravity.
Keep reading Show less

These countries are leading the transition to sustainable energy

Sweden tops the ranking for the third year in a row.

AXEL SCHMIDT/DDP/AFP via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation

What does COVID-19 mean for the energy transition? While lockdowns have caused a temporary fall in CO2 emissions, the pandemic risks derailing recent progress in addressing the world's energy challenges.

Keep reading Show less

What does the red pill really show you?

Neo's superhuman powers were only inside of The Matrix. The outside world offered a different reality.

A fan cosplays as Morpheus from The Matrix during the 2018 New York Comic-Con at Javits Center on October 7, 2018 in New York City.

Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Culture & Religion
  • The "red pill" came into prominence as a way to break free of mental slavery in the 1999 movie, "The Matrix."
  • In a new essay, Julian Walker points out Neo's powers only worked inside of the simulation—reality is a different story.
  • The red vs blue pill question is a pop culture phenomenon, often used in questionable circumstances.
Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…