Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) announced plans to accelerate its solar development throughout the state by nearly tripling its current solar generating capacity of 335 megawatts to 935 (MWs) by early 2018. The utility will build eight, 74.5 megawatt solar plants consisting of a total of 2.5 million photovoltaic panels. The projects are expected to employ 1,600 to 2,000 workers during the peak of construction.
The average cost of electricity for FPL’s residential customers has continued to drop over the last 10 years and is below the national average. The addition of 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar projects are expected to continue to save customers millions of dollars in long-terms savings.
“We have been working hard to drive down the costs of adding solar so we can deliver even more zero-emissions energy to all of our customers. As the first company to build solar power generation cost effectively in Florida, we are proud to continue leading the advancement of affordable clean energy infrastructure. We have proven that it’s possible to cut emissions and deliver reliable service while keeping electric bills low for our customers,” said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO.
Since 2001, FPL has begun phasing out coal-fired and oil-burning power plants and investing in renewable energy projects. Customers have saved more than $8.6 billion in fossil fuel costs and prevented the release of 108 million tons of carbon emissions, according to the utility.
“A year ago, I stood here as FPL broke ground on this solar site, marking the start of the installation of one million solar panels that are now producing zero-emissions energy,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida. “An additional eight new solar energy centers is a major step toward reducing carbon emissions and saving water, benefitting the earth and all Floridians.”
While utility-scale solar development is starting to thrive in Florida, FPL and other utilities have pushed back against residential and small commercial solar by supporting Amendment 1 during the 2016 election cycle. The amendment, heavily criticized by solar advocates and ultimately struck down by Florida voters, would have essentially made it impossible for homeowners to cost-effectively install rooftop solar.Tweet