Construction Begins on FPL's Four Newest Solar Power Plants

31 Jul 2018

Florida Power & Light Company announced the start of construction of its four newest solar power plants, continuing to build on the success of its affordable clean energy strategy that has helped Florida become a leader in clean energy while keeping customer bills among the lowest in America.

Today, FPL operates 14 major solar power plants and more than 200 smaller solar installations, totaling more than 935 megawatts of universal solar capacity currently powering customers. The four new plants, which are expected to be operational by early 2019, 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

"Florida is leading the nation in implementing solar energy affordably," said Eric Silagy, FPL's president and CEO. "FPL is among the cleanest energy providers in the nation not because of governmental mandates or requirements, but because we've been committed to making smart investments in clean energy technologies for years. And we've proven that it's possible to be both clean and reliable while keeping our customers' electric bills among the lowest in the nation."

According to a recent report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, Florida has installed more solar capacity in 2018 than any other state except one.

One of the cleanest electric companies 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 aiming to have approximately 10 million solar panels in operation by 2022 and will be more than halfway to its goal once these four newest plants are completed.

Each of the four new solar plants will have a capacity of 74.5 megawatts for a total of nearly 300 megawatts. In addition to the enormous environmental benefits, FPL's four new solar power plants are expected to produce estimated net lifetime savings of more than $40 million for FPL customers through fuel and other savings.

FPL Interstate Solar Energy Center

The newest solar power plant coming to St. Lucie County will join three others along the Treasure Coast that began serving FPL customers earlier this year – the FPL Loggerhead Solar Energy Center (St. Lucie County); FPL Indian River Solar Energy Center (Indian River County); and FPL Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center (Indian River County).

"Expanding solar energy in St. Lucie County is a big win for our residents," said Peter Tesch, president of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County. "It is a great way to utilize the land due to its environmentally friendly attributes. Our residents will benefit from the clean energy generated right here in our county."

FPL Miami-Dade Solar Energy Center

FPL plans to add more than 1 million solar panels across Miami-Dade in the coming years, starting with the FPL Miami-Dade Solar Energy Center located off Krome Avenue in southwest Miami-Dade County.

"I am proud to have Miami-Dade County partner with Florida Power & Light to bring clean, renewable solar energy to South Florida," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. "Miami-Dade County is committed to a clean and sustainable future for all of our residents and this is another step in the right direction toward resiliency."

"Resiliency is one of Miami-Dade County's top priorities and these solar projects are one of the ways the County is partnering with the business community to address our sustainability," said Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Esteban Bovo, Jr. "I applaud FPL's commitment to generate more solar power in Miami-Dade County and for being a partner to build smarter for the future of all our residents."

FPL Pioneer Trail Solar Energy Center

Known for its beaches and Daytona International Speedway (where FPL operates one of the largest solar installations at any sporting venue in the U.S.), Volusia County will soon be home to a new 74.5-megawatt solar power plant.

"FPL's installation of this new solar energy center in Volusia County moves us closer toward our Sustainability Action Plan goals," said Katrina Locke, the county's sustainability and natural resources director. "Renewable energy is a great way to help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and protect our natural resources in Volusia County for future generations."

FPL Sunshine Gateway Solar Energy Center

Located near the intersection of Interstates 10 and 75 near Florida's northern border, the FPL Sunshine Gateway Solar Energy Center will give residents and visitors traveling these roads a glimpse of a major solar energy operation at work. Once completed, the solar energy center will be visible from Interstate 75 southbound and Interstate 10 westbound.

"Columbia County is proud to join FPL's growing fleet of solar power plants. The economic boost from this project will be felt across the county in the form of jobs and additional tax revenues for our area," said Glenn Hunter, executive director of economic development for Columbia County.

Innovative Environmental Partnerships

FPL continues to expand its solar stewardship program with environmental organizations, such as Audubon Florida, to enhance the environments encompassing the solar plants. The stewardship programs include planting additional pollinator habitats and preserving environmentally sensitive areas.

"Our beautiful state has an abundance of sun and great diversity of native plant and animal species. What is exciting about FPL's solar sites is that they are being designed to do more than just generate clean energy – they are incorporating elements in their designs that could benefit wildlife for generations," said Julie Wraithmell, executive director of Audubon Florida.

Advanced Battery Storage Systems

FPL and other NextEra Energy companies are actively researching and testing battery-storage technologies to study a variety of potential benefits ranging from grid stabilization to improved solar integration. Currently, NextEra Energy companies operate a total of approximately 140 megawatts of batteries with more than 150 megawatt-hours of storage capacity.

Earlier this year, FPL announced the first-of-its-kind large-scale application of "DC-coupled" batteries in the country – a 4-megawatt/16-megawatt-hour storage system located at the FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center in DeSoto County – along with the nation's largest solar-plus storage system – a 10-megawatt/40-megawatt-hour battery-storage project located at the FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center in Charlotte County.

More information about solar in Florida and FPL's solar investments

Florida has abundant agriculture land and ranks ninth in the nation for solar resource – the strength of the sun's rays – making it a great place for universal scale solar; and currently, the Sunshine State ranks eighth overall in the country for total installed solar capacity, jumping five other states in the past year alone.

FPL has been studying and operating solar technology in Florida for more than three decades. In 1984, FPL commissioned its first universal scale 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 2009, FPL built what was then the largest solar PV facility in America and 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 and among the largest in the nation with 14 major solar power plants and more than 200 universal solar installations, totaling more than 935 megawatts of solar generation in operation, 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

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