Solar, Storage

FPL building world’s largest solar-storage combo facility in Florida

Florida Power & Light is vowing to go global-scale on a new solar and energy storage combination.

The unit of NextEra Energy announced plans to build a 409-MW energy storage facility in Manatee County. FPL says the Manatee Energy Storage Center will be the world’s largest solar-power battery system by four-fold.

Manatee, once it’s completed in late 2021, will be charged by a nearby FPL solar power plant. The company says the plan to discharge batteries during times of higher demand will offset the need to run other power plants, thus reducing emissions and saving customers as much as $100 million through avoided fuel costs.

“This is a monumental milestone in realizing the full benefits of solar power and yet another example of how FPL is working hard to position Florida as the global gold standard for clean energy,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “Even as we aggressively execute on our plan to install 30 million solar panels by 2030, we never lose sight of finding innovative ways to bring our customers the benefits of solar energy, even when the sun’s not shining. Replacing a large, aging fossil fuel plant with a mega battery that’s adjacent to a large solar plant is another world-first accomplishment and while I’m very pleased of that fact, what I’m most proud of is that our team remained committed to developing this clean energy breakthrough while saving customers money and keeping their bills among the lowest in the nation.”

Florida Power & Light’s plan is to accelerate the retirements of two nearby 1970s-era gas-fired generation units, while planning to install smaller battery systems across the state. At peak efficiency, the Manatee energy storage system could power 390,000 homes for up to two hours.

Last year, FPL added a 10 MW/40-MWh battery storage project into operations at its 74.5-MW Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center in Charlotte County. Babcock Ranch was built in 2016.

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Solar and energy storage both will be key parts of the content offered next November at POWERGEN International. The annual conference and exhibition will be Nov. 18-21 in New Orleans.