- By Susan Salisbury Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Florida Power & Light Co.’s four newest solar plants began providing power Thursday, bringing the total number of FPL solar plants in operation across the state to 14.
Each of the new plants built at an average cost of $110 million, can produce 74.5 megawatts of electricity, enough to power approximately 15,000 homes each, FPL spokesman Mark Bubriski said.
They are as follows:
• FPL Barefoot Bay Solar Energy Center, Brevard County
• FPL Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center, Indian River County
• FPL Loggerhead Solar Energy Center, St. Lucie County
• FPL Hammock Solar Energy Center, Hendry County
Juno Beach-based 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.
“We are committed to advancing affordable clean energy – the right way. We are building some of the lowest-cost universal solar ever in the country, which keeps costs down for our customers,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “The completion of these newest plants demonstrates that it is possible to be both clean and affordable, bringing numerous economic and environmental benefits to our customers and the communities we serve.”
FPL is the largest generator of solar energy in Florida, with approximately 930 megawatts of solar generation.
The eight solar plants that have entered service in this year are projected to generate more than $100 million in total system savings for FPL customers during their operating lifetime — over and above the cost of constructing and operating the plants.
Last month, at its Citrus Solar Energy Center in DeSoto County, FPL unveiled a new, cutting-edge solar-plus-storage system that is believed to be the first in the country to fully integrate battery technology with a major solar power plant in a way that increases the plant’s overall energy output to the electric grid.
The storage capability will not increase the peak output of the plant but is expected to increase the amount of solar energy the plant can deliver to the electric grid over the course of a year by more than half a million kilowatt-hours.
In the future, pairing solar and storage technology has the potential to harness millions of kilowatt-hours of solar energy a year that would normally be lost and improve the predictability of solar energy, which naturally fluctuates with the sun’s availability. Increased predictability will enable FPL to more efficiently dispatch other power plants, helping save customers even more on fuel costs.
Florida ranks ninth in the nation for solar resource – the strength of the sun’s rays. 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 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’s solar other plants are:
• FPL Horizon Solar Energy Center, Alachua and Putnam counties
• FPL Coral Farms Solar Energy Center, Putnam County
• FPL Indian River Solar Energy Center, Indian River County
• FPL Wildflower Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County
• 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
• Numerous FPL SolarNow arrays in local communities