FPL announces sites for 298 MW-AC of solar plants

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On Friday, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) announced the names and locations of four new FPL owned solar power plants expected to begin powering customers by mid-2019.

  • FPL Interstate Solar Energy Center, St. Lucie County
  • FPL Miami-Dade Solar Energy Center, Miami-Dade County
  • FPL Pioneer Trail Solar Energy Center, Volusia County
  • FPL Sunshine Gateway Solar Energy Center, Columbia County

These plants will all be the same capacity as its previous four projects at 74.5 MW-AC. In the past two years, FPL has announced eleven new solar pv plants. Including these new 298 MW, FPL will reach 18 large-scale solar power plants in its service area totaling 1,228 MW of generating capacity.

These four new plants were said to cost an average of $103 million each – a price of $1.38 per watt-AC. All four will be ‘bird and pollinator friendly’ sites. Through a program announced in 2017,

The “Solar Sanctuary” partnership, FPL and Audubon Florida are working with the Florida Wildflower Foundation, Florida Native Plant Society, Wildlife Habitat Council, local Audubon chapters and others to design and implement site-specific environmental enhancements that will make FPL solar sites bird- and pollinator-friendly havens.

The site of each new facility is being designed to allow a significant amount of the land to be planted with native grasses, trees, shrubs and vines. Plants are being chosen to provide food for birds and pollinators. Quality wetlands are being preserved, which also provide habitat for birds.

At least eight of FPL’s 18 solar power projects are part of this project.

In 2017, ENEL and NREL launched a project to determine best practices on solar farms to create pollinator-friendly practices so the surrounding farmland can still produce agricultural crops. Among the leading examples of this, Cypress Creek has built a 9 MW solar project in Frederick County, Maryland. The state has a law giving preference to solar projects which protect pollinators.

FPL services about 50% of the state’s population via 4.9 million unique accounts. While these projects are strong in volume, the Sunshine State still lags in total volume in 2017 behind their much smaller in population neighbors of Georgia and North Carolina according to the Solar in the Southeast, 2017 Annual Report by cleanenergy.org.

As shown in the graphic below, in terms of watts/customer Florida is also below South Carolina and Mississippi, but with the projects that are underway in the service areas of multiple utilities the state is expected to rise to near the regional average.