Florida Commission Approves State's First Commercial-Scale Solar Power Facilities
Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has received approval from the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) to begin construction of three solar energy centers. Combined, the centers could generate 110 megawatts (MW) of solar power, making Florida the second largest supplier of utility-generated solar power in the nation.
In June, the Florida legislature approved and Governor Charlie Crist signed a comprehensive energy bill that provided for the development of renewable energy, subject to PSC approval. (See the July 2 article published by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.) The three solar centers include a photovoltaic array that FPL says is the largest in the world and the first hybrid energy center that will couple solar thermal technology with an existing natural gas combined-cycle generation unit.
The centers include:
- The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center
This project is expected to provide 25 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic solar capacity. It will be constructed on FPL property in DeSoto County, about 70 miles southeast of St. Petersburg. The project is slated to begin operating by December 2009.
- The Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center
This project will be built near an existing electricity plant in Martin, about 100 miles southwest of Jacksonville. The facility will generate up to 75 MW of solar thermal power, employing a new hybrid design that will connect to an existing combined-cycle power plant. When solar power is harnessed to produce electricity from steam, less natural gas is required. The Martin facility is expected to be online at the end of 2009 and completed by 2010.
- The Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center
Planned for construction at the Kennedy Space Center, at Cape Canaveral, this project is expected to provide 10 MW of photovoltaic solar power. The facility will be created through a public-private partnership, and is planned to go online by the first quarter of 2010.
The three solar projects will help fulfill commitments FPL made at the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2007, which called for an initial 10-MW trial followed by the construction of 300 MW of solar power in Florida and 500 MW nationwide over 7 years. With the PSC approval of the projects, FPL is more than one-third of the way to meeting its target in less than a year.
To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Florida, see:
- Florida news published on the EERE Web site.
- Brief project descriptions from the Florida Energy Office published in the EERE State Energy Program newsletter, Conservation Update.
- Florida publications listed in the EERE State Publications Database.