Florida Power & Light Announces Locations Selected for Next Wave of Solar Power Plants as it Continues to Advance Affordable Clean Energy for Customers

02 Mar 2018

Florida Power & Light Company announced the names and locations of four new solar power plants expected to begin powering customers by mid-2019.

The newly announced solar sites are:

  • FPL Interstate Solar Energy Center, St. Lucie County 
  • FPL Miami-Dade Solar Energy Center, Miami-Dade County 
  • FPL Pioneer Trail Solar Energy Center, Volusia County 
  • FPL Sunshine Gateway Solar Energy Center, Columbia County

"With the support of communities across the state, we are advancing smart, affordable clean energy infrastructure while keeping customer bills low," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "These plants are another step forward in our ongoing strategy of making smart investments to better serve our customers now and in the future." 

FPL's solar expansion plays a significant role in its forward-looking strategy of making smart investments that generate affordable clean energy for customers. FPL has been working for several years to find ways to reduce costs in order to bring more universal solar to its customers cost-effectively. This month, the company implemented a rate decrease, and its typical customer bill is now approximately 30 percent lower than the national average – lower than it was more than 10 years ago. 

Each of the new solar plants will have a capacity of 74.5 megawatts. Combined, they are expected to generate enough energy annually to power approximately 60,000 homes and, over their operational lifetime, produce net savings for FPL customers of $40 million. The net savings are due to several factors including system fuel savings.

Construction is expected to commence later this year. At the height of construction, each of the sites is expected to employ about 200 people, for a total of approximately 800 jobs.

"It's very exciting to see FPL's commitment to invest in solar energy with the addition of four new solar energy centers in Florida," said Jacqui Sulek, chapter conservation manager for Audubon Florida. "Clean energy technology is a great way to meet energy demands while reducing emissions and saving water. We at Audubon look forward to continuing our partnering with FPL on stewardship opportunities that will add value for birds, pollinators and other wildlife."

FPL plans to expand its innovative "Solar Sanctuary" partnership with Audubon Florida to the new sites. The program is designed to enhance FPL's solar power plant sites with unprecedented environmental stewardship, providing thousands of acres of habitat for native plants, birds and vital pollinators such as bumblebees and butterflies. 

FPL's solar energy centers are virtually silent, operate autonomously and without water. The panels sit low to the ground, and the layout of each site is unique to minimize impacts to wetlands and surrounding areas.

FPL continues to invest billions of dollars to advance affordable clean energy and enhance the infrastructure that serves its customers. In the past two years alone, FPL built 11 new solar power plants and retired two major coal plants. 

"We are proud of our long partnership with FPL," said Pete Tesch, president of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County, home of the future FPL Interstate Solar Energy Center and recently completed FPL Loggerhead Solar Energy Center. "Investing in affordable clean energy infrastructure is one of the many reasons our state is top of mind as best places to live and work. No one understands this better than FPL, and they've got the track record to show it."

Planned natural gas power facility receives key approvals
FPL also continues to make smart investments in modernizing its power generation fleet through the use of highly efficient, U.S.-produced natural gas technology. Since 2001, this strategy has saved FPL customers more than $9.3 billion in fossil fuel costs and prevented 120 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. 

In recent years, FPL has torn down old plants and built advanced new natural gas energy centers in Cape Canaveral, Riviera Beach and Port Everglades. The next major modernization will be at the same site in Dania Beach, Florida, where the company built its very first power plant more than 90 years ago. FPL plans to demolish the site's current generating facility – known as the Lauderdale Plant – which uses some components dating back to the 1950s, and build a new, high-efficiency natural gas energy center in its place.

The future FPL Dania Beach Clean Energy Center will generate clean, vitally needed energy while producing an estimated $337 million in net cost savings for customers over its operational lifetime. The new plant will be one of the cleanest facilities of its kind in the world, cutting primary air emissions by 70 percent compared with the existing power plant. Notably, the advanced efficiency of the FPL Dania Beach Clean Energy Center will enable FPL to reduce its overall use of natural gas system-wide. 

Located on property where FPL power plants have operated for nearly a century, the new facility will access natural gas through an existing pipeline and will not require a new substation or new power transmission lines. The facility will help meet the growing energy needs of FPL customers, especially in the highly populated Broward and Miami-Dade counties. It will also generate substantial economic benefits for the area, including hundreds of jobs during construction and nearly $300 million in local tax revenue. 

Yesterday, the Florida Public Service Commission approved FPL's petition to proceed with the modernization, citing it as the most cost-effective option for FPL to ensure continued reliability of the electric grid, both for the FPL system and for the Broward and Miami-Dade region. Also, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has approved an air permit for the facility, confirming it will meet the strict Florida and U.S. air-quality requirements. The new Dania Beachfacility is expected to generate approximately 1,200 megawatts starting in mid-2022 – enough to power about 240,000 homes. 

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.

FPL is in the midst of one of the largest solar expansions ever in the U.S. with more than 3.5 million new solar panels added in the last two years alone. From 2016 to 2023, FPL expects to install a total of more than 10 million solar panels. These advancements continue to improve FPL's carbon emissions profile, which is already approximately 30 percent cleaner than the U.S. industry average. 

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 photovoltaic 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 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 solar power plants projected to produce net savings for FPL customers.

FPL is the largest generator of solar energy in Florida with 14 major solar power plants and numerous other universal solar installations, totaling approximately 930 megawatts of solar generation, including:

  • FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, Charlotte County
  • FPL Barefoot Bay Solar Energy Center, Brevard County
  • FPL Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center, Indian River County 
  • FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County
  • FPL Coral Farms Solar Energy Center, Putnam County
  • FPL DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County
  • FPL Loggerhead Solar Energy Center, St. Lucie County 
  • FPL Hammock Solar Energy Center, Hendry County 
  • FPL Horizon Solar Energy Center, Alachua and Putnam counties 
  • FPL Indian River Solar Energy Center, Indian River County
  • FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center, Manatee County
  • FPL Martin Next Generation Clean Energy Center (hybrid solar/natural gas), Martin County
  • FPL Wildflower 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
  • Numerous FPL SolarNow arrays in local communities

FPL | http://www.fpl.com