Florida Power & Light Company announced the names and locations of its 2017 and 2018 universal solar projects, consisting of eight new 74.5-megawatt solar power plants that will be built over the next 12 months.
The following four plants are expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2017:
- FPL Coral Farms Solar Energy Center, Putnam County
- FPL Horizon Solar Energy Center, Alachua and Putnam Counties
- FPL Indian River Solar Energy Center, Indian River County
- FPL Wildflower Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County
And the remaining four plants are expected to be completed by March 1, 2018:
- FPL Barefoot Bay Solar Energy Center, Brevard County
- FPL Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center, Indian River County
- FPL Hammock Solar Energy Center, Hendry County
- FPL Loggerhead Solar Energy Center, St. Lucie 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, FPL president and CEO. 'On a per-megawatt basis, these eight new plants will be the lowest-cost solar ever built in Florida and some of the lowest-cost solar ever built in America. Our steadfast commitment to delivering solar cost-effectively directly benefits our customers, our environment and the economy.'
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. Lower costs that come with nearby transmission and substation infrastructure continue to be a driving force behind the selection of FPL's universal solar sites, as well as the company's ability to buy solar panels in large quantities - more than 2.5 million solar panels in all across the eight new solar energy centers.
Combined, the new plants are expected to generate enough energy annually to power approximately 120,000 homes and produce net savings for FPL customers of $39 million over their operational lifetime. The net savings are due primarily to the projected reduction in the use of fossil fuels more than offsetting the cost to build the plants.
Construction is expected to commence this spring. At the height of construction, each of the sites is expected to employ about 200 people, for a total of approximately 1,600 jobs.
FPL has been working closely with community leaders, local residents and environmental experts to identify and prepare each of the sites to host the new solar installations, and the company has received widespread support for the investment, which will total approximately $900 million in new solar for Florida.
'The Nature Conservancy wholeheartedly supports Florida's renewable energy future, and we're pleased to see FPL's shared commitment by adding 2.5 million new solar panels at eight new universal solar power plants,' said Greg Knecht, deputy executive director of the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
FPL's universal solar energy centers provide zero-emissions power to the grid and are designed to avoid wetlands and minimize any impact on natural surroundings. The panels sit low to the ground, at about 6 to 8 feet high, on racks that fit directly into the soil and do not require any concrete. Once construction is complete, the plants operate without water, fuel or on-site personnel, placing little to no demand on public services.
Major FPL solar installations currently in operation
FPL currently operates more than 335 megawatts of solar generating capacity, enough to power 60,000 homes. Major installations include:
- FPL DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County
- FPL Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center, Brevard County
- FPL Martin Clean Energy Center (hybrid solar/natural gas), Martin 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
- FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, Charlotte County
- FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County
- FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center, Manatee County