Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) has announced a new “30-by-30” plan to install more than 30 million solar panels by 2030.
According to FPL, the end result would be the largest deployment of solar panels by a regulated utility in the world. The utility has already begun pairing battery storage technology at its solar power plants and expects to deploy a significant amount of battery storage throughout Florida by 2030.
FPL’s planned renewable energy generation and storage, combined with its nuclear power plants in St. Lucie and Miami-Dade counties, is projected to generate more than 40% of its electricity emissions-free by 2030, even as the state’s population – the third highest in the nation – continues to grow. In addition, the company’s 2030 CO2 emissions rate target represents a 67% reduction versus the 2005 U.S. electric industry average.
FPL currently operates 18 large solar power plants and hundreds of other universal solar installations across Florida. In 1984, FPL commissioned its first universal solar installation, a 10 kW photovoltaic facility in Miami that helped the company’s employees gain experience with the then-emerging technology. In addition, for several years, FPL and its sister companies have researched battery storage technology. In 2018, FPL unveiled a solar-plus-storage power plant at Babcock Ranch in Charlotte County.
In recent years, FPL has invested more than $3 billion to upgrade its Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear units, adding more than 500 MW of new capacity. FPL also plans to continue increasing the fuel efficiency of its natural gas power plants and open the FPL Okeechobee Clean Energy Center – which will run on U.S.-produced natural gas – in 2022.
FPL is also poised to eliminate its only remaining coal plant in Florida by the end of this year. The company shut down two coal plants in Jacksonville in 2016 and 2018, respectively, collectively preventing nearly seven million tons of carbon emissions annually, according to the utility.
“FPL is not your traditional electric company,” says Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “We’re a technology company that delivers power, and we’ve long believed in making smart, forward-thinking infrastructure investments to produce tangible, long-term benefits – cleaner air, lower electric rates and reliable service – for our customers and our state. Now we’re taking our long-standing clean energy commitment to the next level. Bottom line, this bold, innovative plan is the right thing to do for our customers and for our fast-growing state, and we look forward to working with local and state officials and our regulators to make this vision a reality.”
“I am supportive of programs that will provide Floridians with greater access to affordable, clean energy, which will help propel the state to a healthier future,” adds Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “We live in the Sunshine State, and solar energy is a natural resource that should be seriously considered. FPL’s initiative is important. As Florida’s energy needs continue to grow at a rapid pace, it is important that we diversify our energy resources. This is vital to the economic well-being of our state and quality of life for residents.”