- Florida Power & Light on Thursday announced it has begun construction on 10 new solar projects that will increase its solar capacity by almost 750 MW, on its way to installing 30 million panels by 2030.
- The NextEra subsidiary currently operates 18 solar projects totaling 1,250 MW of capacity. When online in 2020, the new projects will bring FPL's total solar capacity to almost 2 GW.
- Six of the new projects will support FPL's community solar program, which will consist of 20 solar installations totaling 1,490 MW. The utility says it will be the largest community solar project in the country, if it is approved by the Florida Public Service Commission.
FPL still gets most of its energy from gas-fired plants, but utility officials also say Florida will soon be "a world leader" in solar energy.
"This year alone we're building enough solar to increase our solar capacity by 60% and we are just getting started," FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy said in a statement.
The 10 new projects where FPL has broken ground each have a capacity of 74.5 MW, and the company points to them as an example of affordable clean energy keeping bills low. FPL's customer bills are 30% below the national average, according to the utility.
"These new solar plants are expected to save customers millions of dollars in avoided fuel and other costs over the long term," the utility said.
FPL also noted the economic impacts even before the plants are operating: each of the projects will create approximately 200 jobs during peak construction.
Despite growing its renewable resources, Florida's largest utility remains highly-dependent on natural gas. The gas-fired Okeechobee Clean Energy Center will begin generating electricity next month and the Dania Beach gas plant is expected to come online in 2022. The utility is phasing out coal generation, however, and shuttered two coal plants in Jacksonville in 2016 and 2018.
FPL also has four nuclear units at its Turkey Point and St. Lucie plants and has invested billions to upgrade them.