Sunshine Energy Solar Array at Rothenbach Park in Sarasota County (Photo courtesy of FPL).Florida this week boosted its supply of renewable energy when its largest solar power array went online.

The Sunshine Energy Solar Array was dedicated Monday by Gov. Charlie Crist and Florida Power & Light (FPL) officials. The facility is located on a former landfill in Sarasota County.

The Sunshine array is not only Florida’s largest, but the second largest in the entire Southeast U.S. The array of 1,200 solar panels covers more than 28,000 square feet of Rothenbach Park, and is expected to generate about 250 kilowatts of electricity.

That’s enough to power 55 homes and prevent the annual release of more than 654,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air, according to FPL.

“The economic future of our state is linked to our maintaining its natural beauty, and this solar power facility is an excellent example that other communities can work to achieve,” Crist said during the dedication.

The new array is part of FPL’s Sunshine Energy program, which provides customers with the option of choosing clean energy for their homes and businesses. Some 37,000 customers have enrolled in the program since its start in 2004.

Florida officials have also recently implemented several new programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building a more sustainable future for the state. Crist last year hosted the state’s first summit on climate change.

Today, Crist also announced the release of Florida’s first-ever Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scorecard, which reports the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by state agencies in 2006-2007. The scorecard is intended to act as a baseline to help the state become more energy efficient.