Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) has announced plans to build what it claims will be the world’s largest solar-powered battery system.
The future FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center will have 409 MW of capacity (distributing 900 MWh of electricity) – the equivalent of approximately 100 million iPhone batteries – when it begins serving customers in late 2021. It will be charged by an existing FPL solar power plant in Manatee County.
By deploying energy from the batteries when there is higher demand for electricity, FPL will offset the need to run other power plants – further reducing emissions and saving customers money through avoided fuel costs, the utility says. The energy storage center will cover a 40-acre parcel of land, which is equivalent to 30 football fields or 130 Olympic-size swimming pools.
“This is a monumental milestone in realizing the full benefits of solar power and yet another example of how FPL is working hard to position Florida as the global gold standard for clean energy,” says Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “Even as we aggressively execute on our plan to install 30 million solar panels by 2030, we never lose sight of finding innovative ways to bring our customers the benefits of solar energy, even when the sun’s not shining.”
The FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center is part of FPL’s modernization plan to accelerate the retirement of two 1970s-era natural gas units at FPL’s neighboring power plant and replace them with renewable energy. In addition to the energy storage system in Manatee County, FPL is planning smaller battery installations across the state, numerous solar power plants and efficiency upgrades to existing combustion turbines at other power plants.
“FPL is pioneering a clean energy revolution for our state that’s come full circle for our community,” says Stephen Jonsson, chairman of the board of county commissioners in Manatee County. “It seems like just yesterday that FPL kicked off its massive solar expansion in 2016 by opening a solar power plant in Parrish. Fast-forward a few years, and our hometown solar power plant is on the verge of powering the world’s largest solar-powered battery system.”
FPL also plans to eliminate its only remaining coal plant in Florida by the end of this year. The company also shut down two coal plants in Jacksonville in 2016 and 2018, respectively.