By Rachel Leber
JUNO BEACH, Fla. — Florida Power & Light (FPL) in Juno Beach announced on Feb. 20 the names and locations of eight new solar plants they plan to build and complete Florida-wide by early 2018. These eight new sites will include 74.5-megawatt solar power plants with more than 2.5 million solar panels combined.
The four plants slated for completion by Dec. 31, 2017 are the FPL Coral Farms Solar Energy Center in Putnam County, the FPL Horizon Solar Energy Center in Alachua and Putnam Counties, the FPL Indian River Solar Energy Center in Indian River County and the FPL Wildflower Solar Energy Center in DeSoto County. Four more plants are expected to be completed by March 1, 2018, and they will be the FPL Barefoot Bay Solar Energy Center in Brevard County, the FPL Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center, Indian River County, the FPL Hammock Solar Energy Center, Hendry County and the FPL Loggerhead Solar Energy Center in St. Lucie County.
Construction on these eight solar plants is slated to begin this spring. The budget for these new solar plants will be approximately $900 million in total. Each of the sites is projected to employ about 200 people with a total of close to 1,600 jobs in total. FPL has been working closely with community leaders, local residents and environmental experts to choose and prepare each of the new sites for the new solar installations.
The new plants are expected to generate enough energy to power 120,000 homes annually and produce net savings for FPL customers of a combined $39 million over their operational lifetime. The net savings are due primarily to the projected reduction in the use of fossil fuels. In addition to large financial savings for their customers, these plants are projected to prevent more than 500,000 tons of carbon emissions annually, according to a recent statement.
FPL has saved customers over $8.6 billion in fossil fuel expenses over the years while preventing 108 million tons in carbon emissions at the same time, according to a recent statement. In addition to all of the savings that these power plants will provide, FPL’s long-term goal in the construction of these new plants and other future plants is to help phase out fossil fuel-burning plants.