Florida Power & Light Company announced on March 1 the names and locations of its 2017 and 2018 universal solar projects, consisting of eight new 74.5-megawatt solar power plants that will be built over the next 12 months.
One of those eight projects, the FPL Hammock Solar Energy Center in Hendry County is expected to be completed by Dec. 31. The solar plant will generate zero-emissions electricity for FPL customers – enough to power approximately 15,000 Florida homes and equivalent to removing approximately 12,600 cars from the road each year. The Hammock Solar Energy Center will be built on 957 acres and include about 330,000 solar panels.
“With the support of communities across the state, we are advancing smart, affordable clean energy infrastructure while keeping customer bills low,” said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. “On a per-megawatt basis, these eight new plants will be the lowest-cost solar ever built in Florida and some of the lowest-cost solar ever built in America. Our steadfast commitment to delivering solar cost-effectively directly benefits our customers, our environment and the economy.”
FPL has been working for several years to find ways to reduce costs in order to bring more universal solar to its customers cost-effectively. Lower costs that come with nearby transmission and substation infrastructure continue to be a driving force behind the selection of FPL’s universal solar sites, as well as the company’s ability to buy solar panels in large quantities – more than 2.5 million solar panels in all across the eight new solar energy centers.
Combined, the new plants are expected to generate enough energy annually to power approximately 120,000 homes and produce net savings for FPL customers of $39 million over their operational lifetime. The net savings are due primarily to the projected reduction in the use of fossil fuels more than offsetting the cost to build the plants.
Construction is expected to commence this spring. At the height of construction, each of the sites is expected to employ about 200 people. FPL has been working closely with community leaders, local residents and environmental experts to identify and prepare each of the sites to host the new solar installations, and the company has received widespread support for the investment, which will total approximately $900 million in new solar for Florida.
“The Nature Conservancy wholeheartedly supports Florida’s renewable energy future, and we’re pleased to see FPL’s shared commitment by adding 2.5 million new solar panels at eight new universal solar power plants,” said Greg Knecht, deputy executive director of the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
“An additional eight new solar energy centers is a major step toward reducing carbon emissions and saving water, benefitting the earth and all Floridians,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida.
FPL’s universal solar energy centers provide zero-emissions power to the grid and are designed to avoid wetlands and minimize any impact on natural surroundings. The panels sit low to the ground, at about 6 to 8 feet high, on racks that fit directly into the soil and do not require any concrete. Once construction is complete, the plants operate without water, fuel or on-site personnel, placing little to no demand on public services.
FPL consistently ranks as one of the cleanest, most reliable energy providers in the nation, and the price that FPL’s typical, 1,000-kWh residential customer pays for electricity continues to be less than it was more than 10 years ago and well below the latest national average. Furthering this trend, the new solar energy centers are projected to be cost-effective over their operational lifetime, producing millions of dollars in long-term net savings for FPL customers.
The company’s innovative approach to investing in affordable clean energy infrastructure since 2001, which includes adding advanced technologies and phasing out older coal-fired and oil-burning power plants, has saved FPL customers more than $8.6 billion in fossil fuel costs and prevented 108 million tons of carbon emissions.
Quick facts about FPL’s eight new solar power plants:
• Generating capacity: 74.5 MWac each = 596 MWac total;
• Combined capital cost: Approximately $900 million;
• Estimated annual generation: 1.3 million+ megawatt-hours;
• Projected net customer savings after paying for solar plants: $39 million;
• Carbon emissions prevented: 525,000+ tons (annual average);
• U.S. Environmental Protection Agency equivalencies: Greenhouse gas emissions from 100,000+ cars; Carbon emissions from 1.1 million+ barrels of oil or 53 million+ gallons of gasoline; Carbon sequestered by 450,000+ acres of forest.
For more information, visit www.FPL.com/solar.