Gulf Power breaks ground on two large solar projects and one massive battery system


Gulf Power, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light (FPL), has announced that its solar generation portfolio is set to be bolstered by nearly 150 MW as the utility begins construction on two solar installations in northwest Florida.

The new solar energy centers under construction in the Panhandle are the Cotton Creek Solar Energy Center in Escambia County and the Blue Springs Solar Energy Center in Jackson County, both of which are set to clock in at 74.5 MW. The two projects are each expected to create roughly 500 jobs as they’re being built.

In addition to its solar projects, Gulf Power also recently broke ground on the FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center, which is set to be among the world’s largest integrated solar-powered battery systems, as well as the largest battery installation on the East Coast. This storage system is part of a modernization plan that is expected to accelerate the retirement of aging natural gas units at a neighboring power plant.

Located in Parrish, Florida, the 409 MW behemoth of a battery project is expected to begin serving customers in late 2021. The Manatee center will create 70 new jobs during construction, and it is projected to save FPL customers more than $100 million in avoided fuel costs over the project’s life.

Alongside the projects that have begun construction, Gulf Power also announced an additional five projects in the early phases of development across northwest Florida: the First City Solar Energy Center in North Escambia County, the Blackwater River Solar Energy Center in Santa Rosa County, the Chipola River Solar Energy Center and Flowers Creek Solar Energy Center in Calhoun County, and the Apalachee Solar Energy Center in Jackson County.

While the capacities for these projects in development have not yet been released, it’s safe to assume that most, if not all, will end up being that magic 74.5 MW, as projects larger than that in Florida are subject to additional permitting that the majority of project developers avoid.

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