FPL Poised to Power Up Nation’s Largest Solar PV Power Plant
The Arcadia, Florida facility will overtake Nevada’s Nellis Solar Power Plant as the largest solar photovoltaic facility in the U.S., and in North America. Constructed in less than a year, the DeSoto Center uses over 90,000 photovoltaic panels to turn the sun’s rays into electricity powering over 3,000 homes.
The DeSoto Center is one of three new commercial-scale, renewable, solar power plants Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is building in Florida, along with solar energy centers in Martin County and at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Together, these solar arrays will total 110 megawatts of capacity by the end of 2010 and will make Florida the second largest solar power-producing state in the country.
According to Eric Silagy, FPL vice-president/chief of development, large-scale solar projects such as DeSoto provide Florida with the opportunity to create and attract more clean-energy jobs, produce millions of dollars in new revenue for local governments, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and fight the effects of climate change.
“FPL is proud to lead the development of clean, renewable solar energy in Florida, and we are positioned to build even more over the next two to three years if the state’s legislative and regulatory leaders continue to support solar energy,” Silagy said.
Over the past year, Silagy added, the facility benefited the local economy in DeSoto County by creating more than 400 jobs during construction. The county will also receive annual tax revenues that will amount to $2 million for schools and other local services by the end of next year.
“Solar photovoltaic power also provides significant environmental benefits because the facility consumes no fuel, uses no water and produces no waste,” Silagy noted. “Over the life of the facility, the DeSoto Center will avoid the release of more than 575,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.”
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this is equivalent to taking more than 4,500 cars off the road every year. The electricity generated by this facility will reduce the use of fossil fuels in Florida by more than 277,000 barrels of oil and 7 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
FPL is the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the United States. Servicing 4.5 million customers, FPL is a leading employer in the state with nearly 11,000 employees. The company consistently outperforms national averages for service reliability while customer bills are well below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and the No. 1 energy efficiency program among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based FPL Group, Inc.