Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) has broken ground on three solar projects totaling 74.5 MW each. The community-scale plants are expected to begin producing energy by year’s end and will help triple the utility’s current solar capacity.
The FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center will consist of more than 338,000 solar panels over 762 acres in Manatee County; the FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center is being built on 841 acres in DeSoto County; and the FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, now under construction on 440 acres in Charlotte County, will be part of the new Babcock Ranch sustainable community.
These plants, along with several community-based, small-scale solar arrays and commercial-scale solar research installations that FPL is building, will combine for a total of more than 225 MW of new solar capacity by the end of this year. This will effectively triple FPL’s solar capacity, which currently totals approximately 110 MW.
According to FPL, the three new solar energy centers will employ nearly 250 people during construction.
“We’re extending our leadership role in the renewable energy space by installing 1 million new solar panels,” says Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. “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.”
Photo courtesy of Brian Blanco for FPL: Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam shakes hands with Florida Power & Light Co. President and CEO Eric Silagy after they drive pilings for the foundation of the future site of the company’s Manatee Solar Energy Center in Parrish, Fla.