Kennedy Space Center, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] Officials from NASA and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) have commissioned FPL’s Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center. The 10-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) facility is the result of a public-private partnership between NASA and FPL and is located on NASA property at Kennedy Space Center.
“NASA is a pioneer in the use of solar power for space exploration, so it’s fitting that we’re working with FPL to expand the use and R&D of that renewable energy source at Kennedy Space Center where many of those missions were launched,” said Robert Cabana, director of the Kennedy Space Center. “This type of commercial partnership with NASA helps provide Florida residents, and America’s space program, with new sources of ‘green power’ that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and improve the environment.”
The facility features approximately 35,000 solar PV panels from SunPower Corp. across 60 acres at Kennedy Space Center. SunPower designed and built the 10-MW system and a separate 1-MW solar power system at Kennedy Space Center, as well as FPL’s 25-MW DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in DeSoto County, the largest operating solar PV power plant in the U.S.
SunPower said that it plans to locate a research and development center employing up to 50 employees in Florida if the state government continues to support the deployment of additional large-scale solar energy projects.
“Florida is poised to be a leader in America’s growing clean-energy economy, which naturally includes solar power,” said Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, whose district includes the Kennedy Space Center. “Bringing new clean-energy jobs to our communities is one of my top priorities. This joint effort between NASA and FPL is an example of how we can create jobs while investing in common-sense solutions to the economic, environmental and national security challenges we face today.”
FPL’s Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center is the second large-scale solar facility that FPL has completed in Florida. The first, FPL’s DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, the country’s largest solar PV facility at 25 megawatts, was commissioned in October 2009 by President Barack Obama.