Florida Power & Light Co has installed more than half of the 2.5 million solar panels that will comprise eight new solar power plants powering its customers by early 2018.
Construction activity at the new solar sites is at peak levels with a workforce of more than 1,000 men and women, including military veterans, building the advanced facilities. The eight new plants are part of FPL's larger plan to add more than 10 million solar panels from 2016 to 2023, one of the largest solar expansions ever in the eastern United States.
"We're investing nearly $1 billion to grow solar in Florida this year alone, and we're building each of these new solar power plants cost-effectively," said FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy as he toured the construction site of the future FPL Barefoot Bay Solar Energy Center in Brevard County with community leaders today. "Together, these eight new plants are projected to generate an estimated net lifetime savings of more than $100 million for our customers – over and above the cost of construction. Our continued commitment to rapidly expand solar energy while keeping customer bills low demonstrates that it is, in fact, possible to be both clean and affordable."
"FPL's clean energy infrastructure investments continue to pay off for Floridians and give our state's economy a competitive advantage," said Vicki Northrup, an economic development consultant in Brevard County. "Residents and businesses served by FPL are enjoying cleaner and cleaner energy while continuing to pay significantly less for power than the national average."
The eight new FPL solar plants under construction and their expected completion dates are:
- FPL Horizon Solar Energy Center, Alachua and Putnam counties (by Dec. 31, 2017)
- FPL Coral Farms Solar Energy Center, Putnam County (by Dec. 31, 2017)
- FPL Indian River Solar Energy Center, Indian River County (by Dec. 31, 2017)
- FPL Wildflower Solar Energy Center, Desoto County (by Dec. 31, 2017)
- FPL Barefoot Bay Solar Energy Center, Brevard County (by March 1, 2018)
- FPL Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center, Indian River County (by March 1, 2018)
- FPL Hammock Solar Energy Center, Hendry County (by March 1, 2018)
- FPL Loggerhead Solar Energy Center, St. Lucie County (by March 1, 2018)
Each of the eight new solar plants will be capable of generating 74.5 megawatts of zero-emissions energy when the sun is shining for a combined total of nearly 600 megawatts.
More information about solar in Florida and FPL's solar investments
Florida ranks ninth in the nation for solar resource – the strength of the sun's rays – making it a great place for solar. One of the cleanest electric utilities in the nation, FPL projects that solar will outpace coal and oil combined as a percentage of the company's energy mix by the year 2020.
From 2016 to 2023, FPL plans to add more than 2,300 new megawatts of solar, including the approximately 225 megawatts completed in 2016 and the nearly 600 megawatts currently under construction – totaling more than 10 million solar panels in all.
FPL has been studying and operating solar in Florida for more than three decades. In 1984, FPL commissioned its first universal solar installation, a 10-kilowatt PV facility in Miami that helped the company's employees gain experience with the then-emerging technology. Over the years, FPL has continued to test and operate a wide variety of solar technologies.
In 2009, the company built the 25-megawatt FPL DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which was the largest solar PV power plant ever built in the U.S. at the time. In 2016, FPL became the first company to build solar cost-effectively in Florida, leveraging its purchasing power and sites with key advantages to complete three 74.5-megawatt universal solar power plants that are projected to result in net customer savings over their operational lifetimes.
Today, FPL is the largest generator of solar energy in Florida with six major solar power plants and numerous other universal solar installations, totaling more than 335 megawatts of capacity:
- FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, Charlotte County
- FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County
- FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center, Manatee County
- FPL Martin Next Generation Clean Energy Center (hybrid solar/natural gas), Martin County
- FPL DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County
- FPL Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center, Brevard County
- FPL Solar Circuit at Daytona International Speedway, Volusia County
- Solar research installation at Florida International University, Miami-Dade County
- FPL SolarNow array at the Broward Young At Art Museum & Library, Broward County
- FPL SolarNow array at the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, Palm Beach County
- FPL SolarNow array at the Palmetto Estuary Nature Preserve, Manatee County
In addition to the above, FPL has installed small-scale solar arrays for more than 100 Florida schools and other educational facilities. For more information, visit www.FPL.com/solar.