Florida is finally realizing its potential as a solar energy pioneer

Posted 2/16/22

For Floridians, the promise of cost-effective and reliable solar energy from the grid started like small ...

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Florida is finally realizing its potential as a solar energy pioneer

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For Floridians, the promise of cost-effective and reliable solar energy from the grid started like a small ray of light peeking out of the clouds.

FPL began exploring solar technology in South Florida in the mid-1980s, believing in an exciting, new energy future.

After decades of research and planning, Floridians got their first taste of that future in 2009, when President Barack Obama helped usher in the next era of clean energy with a large-scale solar site in DeSoto County – the largest of its kind in the U.S. at the time.

That exciting start has only led to more innovation and reduced costs for large-scale solar, creating savings for customers and an opportunity for our state to shine.

Today, over 3.6 million kilowatts of clean, zero-emissions solar energy are generated for customers by FPL’s solar energy centers. They are each three times as large as the historic site from 2009 and cost less to operate – producing the largest amount of solar for the lowest possible cost.

We recently added eight new solar energy centers throughout Florida, bringing the overall total to 50 solar energy centers in operation. For perspective: the clean solar energy generated from these 50 solar energy centers can power approximately 750,000 homes. In terms of carbon emissions, that’s equivalent to taking more than 650,000 gas-powered cars off the road each year. This isn’t just an important milestone for residents receiving that power, it’s also a remarkable achievement for the state of Florida.

We are proud to help Florida pursue a cleaner energy future, and we are on track to shatter our original, bold solar goals.

The company expects to complete its “30-by-30” plan to install 30 million solar panels across Florida by the end of 2025 – five years ahead of schedule. The benefits of this 30 million solar panel network extend far beyond providing cleaner energy. They will generate approximately $2.5 billion in fuel savings for residents, create more than 20,000 construction jobs and are expected to contribute more than $700 million in property taxes over their lifetime for counties across the state.

Florida is on the frontlines of climate change and frequently severe weather. As the nation’s largest utility, FPL has a responsibility to continue investing in the technology and infrastructure necessary to ensure all customers benefit from clean energy – now and in the future.

Over the next four years, we plan to add another 16 million solar panels across an additional 50 solar energy centers for customers throughout the state. We will also continue to integrate battery storage technology to help bring solar energy onto the grid even when the sun isn’t shining. And, we’re researching and testing new clean energy fuels, like green hydrogen, which has the potential to someday unlock a 100% carbon-free energy future.

In addition to investing in clean technology, we’re also investing in education. The recently unveiled microgrid at Florida International University supplies backup power from a solar array in the event of a severe weather outage. Likewise, the University of Central Florida’s new microgrid control lab is providing engineering students with invaluable experience simulating and testing real-life grid control operations.

Florida has come a long way in its clean energy journey, and we believe the best part of this journey is still to come. By remaining focused on continuous improvement, and inspiring more to join this effort, together we can achieve a fully decarbonized economy where all households and businesses are powered by renewable, dependable and affordable energy.

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