Florida utility unveils solar surge

20 Janvier, 2019, 11:13 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • FPL plans to add 30 million solar panels in Florida by 2030

"This site her is comprised of roughly 330 thousand solar panels and will generate 74 and a half mega watts of clean emissions energy that's enough power to power 15 thousand homes", says FPL spokesman Stephen Heiman.

The company said it has secured sites throughout Florida for the projects, some of which could also include battery storage. Colin Smith, a senior analyst tracking utility-scale solar at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, points out that FPL's commitment to lowering emissions is another step forward in the national trend toward embracing renewable energy sources by regulated utilities. Currently, FPL operates 14 major solar power plants and more than 200 smaller solar installations across the state.

FPL is also poised to eliminate its only remaining coal plant in Florida by the end of this year.

Global spending on solar energy declined by nearly a quarter a year ago to US$130.8 billion, mainly on the back of a regulatory policy overhaul in China that led to an oversupply of solar panels, driving prices down.

"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", Eric Silagy, CEO of FPL, said in the release. FPL's initiative is important. The Bloomberg researchers warned that despite a surge in renewable energy investment since 2004, when the world spent less than US$62 billion on cleaner energy, as global energy demand grew, so did the consumption of fossil fuels. "This is vital to the economic well-being of our State and quality of life for residents". The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) pegs the rollout at around 8 GW total - a doubling of the utility's current 4 GW goal, though the group's reaction was less optimistic about FPL's announcement.

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Florida Power & Light bills itself as the largest energy company in the U.S.as measured by retail electricity produced and sold, serving an estimated 10 million-plus people across Florida.

One piece of the FPL's solar expansion plan is its "Solar Together" program to sell solar subscriptions to business, government and residential customers.

"The best part about this announcement is that we know we can trust FPL to deliver on its promise because the company has a history of overachieving when it says it will modernize Florida's clean energy mix", Simpson said. That deal is expected to supply NextEra with roughly 7 million solar panels over approximately four years.

FPL said it now operates 18 large solar plants. In 1984, FPL commissioned its first universal solar installation, a 10 kW photovoltaic facility in Miami that helped the company's employees gain experience with the then-emerging technology. The company shut down two coal plants in Jacksonville in 2016 and 2018, respectively, collectively preventing almost seven million tons of carbon emissions annually, according to the utility.

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