Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) tonight unveiled the world’s largest solar-powered battery at a time when the system will be needed most: after dark. During a commissioning ceremony, FPL illuminated the night sky with a light and drone show powered by the newly commissioned FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center.
“Since embarking on the largest solar expansion in the nation, the company has also installed more than 13 million solar panels and is already 45% of the way toward reaching our ‘30-by-30’ goal to install 30 million solar panels across the state of Florida by 2030. What makes me most proud is that these projects are cost-effective for customers, which helps keep bills low over the long term. This battery is another example of how FPL has become a leader in clean energy and sustainability without sacrificing affordability or reliability.” said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO.
The newly operational battery will enable customers to enjoy the benefits of solar even when the sun’s not shining, such as at night or on a cloudy day. When the sun’s rays are strongest, the battery system will store extra solar energy produced by the existing Manatee Solar Energy Center and feed that power to the grid when it’s needed most. By deploying energy from the battery when there is a higher demand for electricity, FPL will offset the need to run other power plants – further reducing emissions and saving customers money through avoided fuel costs.
The Manatee Energy Storage Center is made up of 132 energy storage containers, organized across a 40-acre plot of land, equivalent to 30 football fields. The battery has a 409-MW capacity and can deliver 900 MWh of energy – the equivalent of 100 million iPhone batteries, or enough energy to power approximately 329,000 homes for more than two hours.
FPL researched battery storage technology for several years to study a variety of potential benefits, from grid stabilization to improved solar integration. In 2018, FPL built the largest combined operating solar and energy storage center at the time at Babcock Ranch in Charlotte County. In addition to the Manatee Energy Storage Center, FPL continues to execute on a 50 MW battery storage pilot program that comprises eight projects, including a building-sized battery in Miami and innovative microgrids in Riviera Beach and on FIU’s engineering campus.
FPL’s investments in battery storage technology directly complement the company’s nation-leading expansion of solar energy. Today, FPL operates 42 solar energy centers from Pensacola to Miami. In addition to completing construction on the world’s largest solar-powered battery storage facility, FPL expects to complete construction on eight more solar energy centers by early next year. By the end of the decade, FPL forecasts that nearly 40% of the company’s power will be generated by zero-emissions energy sources – a more than 65% increase from 2020.