FPL Announces 2.1GW Solar Power Rollout

Renewable energy boom drives upturn in construction.Solar panels key to renewables boom.

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has announced it expects to roll out nearly 2,100 megawatts of new solar capacity across the state over the next seven years.

The company, which serves more than 10 million people across nearly half of the state of Florida, plans to add an average of nearly 300 megawatts of new solar annually from 2017 through at least 2023.

The 2,100 megawatts – enough to power more than 420,000 homes – includes 600 megawatts that is expected to commence operating by early next year. The 600MW is comprised of eight projects boasting a total of more than 2.5 million solar panels; enough to wrap around Florida’s coastline twice according to the company. The eight new solar plants will generate estimated net lifetime savings of USD $39 million.

“We’re currently building some of the lowest-cost solar ever seen in America, and our investments in more efficient natural gas technology are delivering enormous savings and environmental benefits for our customers and our state,” said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO.

Florida Power & Light - Solar Energy

Image: FPL

Last year the company built three 74.5-megawatt solar farms, each capable of generating enough electricity to power approximately 15,000 homes. Currently, FPL has more than 335 megawatts of solar generating capacity in its portfolio.

FPL is also shutting down coal plants, with the Cedar Bay plant in Jacksonville shuttered at the end of last year and the Indiantown plant in Martin County set to close by 2019. Also recently announced was the intention close the jointly-owned 1,252-megawatt St. Johns River Power Park plant at the end of 2017, which is apparently no longer economical to operate.

In the not too distant future, FPL expects to slash its coal and oil usage to under 1 percent combined while more than quadrupling solar power’s share of the company’s energy mix. The company states solar energy will bypass coal and oil combined as a percentage of the company’s energy mix by 2020.

Even with all that solar capacity fully rolled out, it will still be dwarfed by FPL’s nuclear power assets – two nuclear plants (St. Lucie and Turkey Point) with a combined 3,000 megawatts capacity.