NextEra Energy is one of the only large power companies in the United States that is truly embracing the shift to renewable energy – and applying this not only to its competitive generation, but also the utility it owns.
For subsidiary Florida Power and Light (FPL), that means massive solar plants spread across Florida, and often owned by the utility. And yesterday the company’s vision to have solar as a main component of its energy mix just got more concrete, with four large solar plants, each 74.5 MW in capacity, coming online.
This makes 18 solar plants that FPL has completed, for a total of 1.25 GW. This is one of the largest utility-owned solar fleets in the nation.
The four plants that come online today are:
- FPL Interstate Solar Energy Center in St. Lucie County
- FPL Miami-Dade Solar Energy Center in Miami-Dade County
- FPL Pioneer Trail Solar Energy Center in Volusia County
- FPL Sunshing Gateway Solar Energy Center in Columbia County
According to FPL, the capacity that it has recently put online should allow it to get around 2% of its annual electricity from solar.
And this is just the beginning. Earlier this month the utility announced its ’30 x 30’ initiative, under which it plans to install 30 million solar panels – roughly 11 GW of capacity – by 2030, as well as making “unprecedented” investments in batteries.
And while other details of the plan are sparse, it is likely that this means the kind of large-scale solar that FPL has been putting on to date, and not rooftop solar. In NextEra’s recent Q4 2018 results call, the company estimated that it has secured sites for roughly 7 GW of the projects.
When these are online, the company estimates that it will be getting around 20% of its electricity from solar – more than any state in 2018, including California.