FPL Breaks Ground on the Largest PV Project in the U.S.

FPL (Florida Power & Light) announced it has broken ground Florida’s first commercial scale solar PV project, the 25 MW DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center.

The project is the largest photovoltaic solar facility in the U.S. and should be complete at the end of this year. 90,000 PV  panels sited on 180 acres of land which supply electricity to over 3,000 homes. 

SunPower (SPWRA) is supplying the panels and its SunPower® Tracker technology, which automatically follows the sun’s movement throughout the day, increasing efficiency some 25% from that of fixed systems.

The project will create over 200 solar jobs during construction and about $2 million in tax revenues each year. 

FPL is building two more plants in Florida, for a total of 110 MW. In December 2008, it broke ground on the world’s first hybrid solar plant, the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which is the 2nd largest solar thermal plant in the U.S. It will generate 75 MW of solar energy starting in 2010. A third plant at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, will add another 10 MW. 

In other Florida news, the City of Gainesville, which implemented a solar feed-in tariff, has already reached its goal of 4 MW of reservations for 2009 and is accepting reservations for an additional 4 MW in 2010 on a first come first serve basis.

Gainesville’s program goes live March 1st. The solar PV tariff is $0.32/kWh for 20 years.  The 4 MW are expected to be built over the next seven months.

Florida entrepreneurs are gearing up to benefit as energy generators. One person is putting about 100 solar panels on his warehouse, from which he’ll earn an annual profit of $14,000 by selling the energy to the electric utility. 

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Comments on “FPL Breaks Ground on the Largest PV Project in the U.S.”

  1. Gary G.

    The Herald Tribune mentioned that a PV solar installation would normally take decades to pay off. However, this venture is “making money” by taxing other forms of energy to create the magical payoff. Will PV solar ever reach a state where they make financial sense without tax incentives? My limited research shows solar PV as being three times more expensive than other forms of electrical generation. If this is the case, then PV solar really makes no more sense than the ethanol initiative – throwing tax dollars at an improbable solution. Perhaps Florida should back other initiatives that make more sense – like wind, geothermal and wave generation. I’ve seen no evidence that PV solar will ever make good financial sense – unless we want to create a permanent black hole for tax dollars.

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