FPL announces progress on large-scale Florida projects

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Utility Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has announced that it has made progress on three large-scale PV projects within the state.

FPL’s report, serving as part of the Florida Public Service Commission's (PSC) annual Ten-Year Site Plan workshop, notes that the three sites are scheduled to be completed by 2016 and will triple FPL’s current solar capacity cost-effectively, with no net cost against customers during the plants’ lifetimes.

Pamela Rauch, FPL's vice president of development and external affairs, said: “FPL has been working to advance solar affordably in Florida for more than a decade. Large-scale solar is by far the most economical way to advance solar energy for the benefit of all of our customers.”

The new plants — the FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center in Charlotte County, the FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center in DeSoto County and the FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center in Manatee County — will each be designed with around 74MW of generation capacity.

Engineering, procurement and construction firm Black & Veatch will design and construct the three projects, with FPL noting that it expects to break ground at the sites in late 2015. Construction is expected to take around a year. The installations, along with several small-scale solar arrays and commercial-scale solar research buildings that FPL is building, will combine for a total generation capacity of 225MW by the end of 2016 — tripling FPL’s current solar capacity.

The FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center will be developed on land donated by the Babcock Ranch development — helping to keep development costs low in the process. County tax incentives and a portion of franchise fees committed by the Babcock Ranch Independent Special District will also lower the cost of the project.

The FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center will be developed on 340 hectares of land that is located near the 25MW FPL DeSoto Solar Energy Center, which was opened in October 2009. Meanwhile, the FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center will be constructed on a 308-hectare site that FPL owns near its natural gas-powered Manatee Power Plant.

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