Florida Power & Light Co., which is the largest generator of solar power in Florida, announced Sept. 15 that it has completed the installation of half of the million new solar panels it plans to add by the end of this year to provide power to customers.
The panels will comprise three new solar energy centers, each of which will provide 74.5 megawatts of generating capacity, making them among the very largest solar facilities in the eastern U.S.
“We’re tripling the amount of solar energy we generate for our customers this year, and we plan to continue adding more cost-effective solar in the future,” said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. “Laid end to end, the one million solar panels would just about wrap around the entire coastline of Florida, or put another way, would extend from Florida to Chicago. Today, we’re halfway there. Undeniably, Florida’s clean energy landscape is bright, and we’re proud to continue leading the advancement of affordable clean solar energy for our customers.”
FPL’s new solar energy centers are being built cost-effectively, the utility said, meaning there will be no net cost to the company’s customers after savings from fuel and other costs. By leveraging its ability to buy solar panels in bulk and other cost-saving advantages, the company said it is advancing solar energy affordably for its customers.
FPL, headquartered in Juno Beach, currently operates 110 megawatts of large-scale solar at three sites in Florida, in addition to numerous smaller installations across the state. The three new solar energy centers — located in Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties — in addition to several commercial-scale installations, will produce a total of more than 225 new solar megawatts in 2016. The facilities include:
- Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, Palm Beach County, Fla. (entered service June 2016)
- FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, Charlotte County, Fla. (under construction)
- FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County, Fla. (under construction)
- FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center, Manatee County, Fla. (under construction)
- Daytona International Speedway, Volusia County, Fla. (entered service Feb. 2016)
- Florida International University, Miami-Dade County, Fla. (entered service May 2016)
- Broward Young At Art Museum & Library, Broward County, Fla. (entered service April 2016)
FPL said it’s operations are cleaner today than the carbon emissions goal set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan for Florida to meet by 2030. At the same time, FPL’s adds that its typical residential customer bills are about 30 percent lower than the national average.