Florida Power and Light (FPL) is leading the Sunshine State in solar power, making headway on its plans to install 10 million solar panels by 2023 and now the utility has announced that it plans to install 30 million solar panels in Florida by 2030 while reducing its carbon emissions to 67 percent below the national average.
"I am supportive of programs that will provide Floridians with greater access to affordable, clean energy which will help propel the State to a healthier future," said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). "We live in the Sunshine State and solar energy is a natural resource that should be seriously considered. FPL's initiative is important. As Florida's energy needs continue to grow at a rapid pace, it is important that we diversify our energy resources. This is vital to the economic well-being of our state and quality of life for residents."
The company is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, which previously made a deal with Chinese solar manufacturer JinkoSolar to build solar panels in Florida, and has already contracted to purchase at least 7 million solar panels from the manufacturer over four years. In 2017 FPL said it planned to install 4 gigawatts of solar by 2027.
Now it appears FPL is planning to add in even more solar power and is likely to continue to retire its coal plants, often earlier than originally anticipated. The company said it has already secured solar sites throughout the state that will allow it build cost effective solar energy farms across the state. It did not, however, give an update on how many gigawatts of solar FPL will have online by 2030.
"FPL is not your traditional electric company," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "We're a technology company that delivers power, and we've long believed in making smart, forward-thinking infrastructure investments to produce tangible, long-term benefits—cleaner air, lower electric rates and reliable service—for our customers and our state. Now we're taking our long-standing clean energy commitment to the next level. Bottom line, this bold, innovative plan is the right thing to do for our customers and for our fast-growing state, and we look forward to working with local and state officials and our regulators to make this vision a reality."
Under the expanded plan FPL said that by 2030 more than 40 percent of its electricity will com from emissions-free resources led by solar and nuclear power. At the same time it will keep electric costs low.
“Our customers enjoy electricity that is among the cleanest and most reliable in the country for a price more than 30 percent below the national average. That said, we're not satisfied with the status quo and understand that our customers expect even more from us as energy experts and industry leaders,” Silagy said.
In addition to the solar plants, FPL is adding in energy storage at its solar farms. The company said that innovations will help bring the cost and capacity of such batteries down in the future and plans to drastically increase the amount of energy storage it has throughout Florida by 2030.Tweet