Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has broken ground on three new solar projects that upon completion will triple the utility’s existing solar capacity.
FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center will feature 338,000 solar panels on 762 acres in Manatee County. FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center is being built on 841 acres in DeSoto County and FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy center is under construction on 440 acres in Charlotte County.
"Six years ago, not far from here, FPL commissioned what was then the largest photovoltaic solar power plant ever built in the United States with 90,000 solar panels," said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. "Fast-forward to 2016, and we're extending our leadership role in the renewable energy space by installing 1 million new solar panels. If you laid these panels end to end, they would nearly wrap around the entire state. But we couldn't have come this far on our own. Working with the communities we serve, we are building solar energy centers that are not only reliable, but also cost-effective, providing affordable, clean energy for our customers for generations to come."
The projects’ locations were chosen because of existing transmission and substation infrastructure as well as strong community support.
Upon completion, each plant will have 74.5 MW of solar capacity. These plants and several small- and commercial-scale solar installations FPL is building will combine for more than 225 MW of new solar by the end of 2016.
FPL’s existing solar facilities, built in 2009 and 2010, have a combined capacity of about 110 MW.