FPL Energy update: Four new solar plants coming online, battery-storage pilots underway

Florida solar power

Florida Power & Light Company started construction on four new solar power plants this week, adding to the 14 major solar power plants it already operates and more than 200 smaller solar installations, totaling more than 935 megawatts of universal solar capacity currently powering customers.

In addition, 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.

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 in-vestments 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.”

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 Treas-ure 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).

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.

“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 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.

— Solar Builder magazine

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