Florida Power & Light Company, a subsidiary of clean energy leader FPL Group, Inc., today announced new solar energy projects that include the world's largest photovoltaic solar plant and first "hybrid" energy center, coupling solar thermal technology with an existing combined-cycle generation unit.
"Pending regulatory approval, FPL will build 110 megawatts of solar power right here in the Sunshine State, making Florida No. 2 in the nation for solar energy," FPL Group Chairman and CEO Lewis Hay, III announced today at the 2008 Florida Summit on Global Climate Change in Miami.
"This is made possible in part by the strong support and determined leadership of Governor Crist and the Florida legislature, who crafted a progressive energy bill that put a supportive policy framework in place for solar power."
Along with a previously announced photovoltaic solar installation at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the projects will generate 110 megawatts of emissions-free electricity. The projects are:
- The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center. Planned for construction to commence by year-end 2008 on FPL-owned property in DeSoto County, Fla., the DeSoto project will provide 25 megawatts of photovoltaic solar capacity, making it the world's largest photovoltaic solar facility.
- The Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center. Planned for construction to commence by the beginning of 2009 at FPL's existing Martin Plant site, the Martin project will provide up to 75 megawatts of solar thermal capacity in an innovative "hybrid" design that will connect to an existing combined-cycle power plant. When the power of the sun is producing electricity from steam, less fossil fuel is required.
- The Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center. Planned for construction to commence by the beginning of 2009 at the Kennedy Space Center, the Space Coast project will provide 10 megawatts of photovoltaic solar capacity in an innovative public-private partnership.
These projects represent an accelerated implementation schedule of the commitments the company made at the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2007, which called for an initial 10 megawatt trial followed by the construction of 300 megawatts of solar power in Florida and 500 megawatts nationwide over seven years. With today's announcement, FPL is meeting more than one-third of its Florida target in under a year.
Together, the three sites will prevent the release of nearly 3.5 million tons of greenhouse gases over the life of the projects, which is the equivalent of removing 25,000 cars from the road per year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, photovoltaic solar systems, which convert sunlight directly to electricity, consume no fuel, use no water, and produce no waste. Solar thermal systems, which use the power of the sun to produce electricity from steam, use no fossil fuel, no additional cooling water and produce zero greenhouse gas emissions.
The 110 megawatts of photovoltaic solar and solar thermal power announced by FPL today is in addition to 250 megawatts of solar thermal power announced by FPL Energy on March 26. Together, the projects will dramatically extend FPL Group's lead as the world's No. 1 producer of solar energy. FPL Group is also the nation's No. 1 producer of wind power.
The company has secured the necessary zoning approval and has access to the necessary transmission infrastructure for all three projects. The Martin and DeSoto County projects will be built entirely on FPL-owned land. FPL submitted a petition on May 16 to the Florida Public Service Commission to commence regulatory approval to build the three projects.
With the announcement of these solar projects, FPL Group is further demonstrating its commitment to improving the environment and expanding its renewable energy portfolio:
- FPL is the nation's No. 1 utility for energy conservation, according to U.S. Department of Energy data. FPL's conservation programs have helped the company avoid the need to build 12 medium-sized power plants since 1980, more than any other utility.
- FPL Energy operates the world's largest solar thermal field in California's Mojave Desert and is the nation's largest wind power company, with 5,410 megawatts of installed capacity at 56 sites in 16 states.
- Overall, FPL Group's generation fleet, with a capacity of 38,105 megawatts, has one of the lowest carbon dioxide emission rates in the country.