The Sunshine State Indeed: Florida Will Triple Its Solar Capacity in 2016


The state of Florida is seeing many new developments in the solar power industry thanks to Florida Power and Light (FPL) and its three new solar power plants.

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As reported by CTBR and Commercial Property Executive, FPL’s three new plants will allow the southwestern region of Florida to triple its solar capacity by the end of 2016.

FPL owns the Manatee Solar Energy Center, located in Manatee County, which will sit on a 762-acre plot of land. Another plant, the Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, is already being constructed in Charlotte County and sit on 440 acres of land donated by the environmentally-conscious developers of Babcock Ranch. The third plant, Citrus Solar Energy Center, will be located in DeSoto County on a 841-acre plot of land.

Each individual plant will have 74.5 megawatts of solar capacity, and collectively the plants will use around one million panels to harvest solar rays. Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, said in a statement that “if you laid these panels end to end, they would nearly wrap around the entire state.”

FPL isn’t the only company in Florida that has begun looking into alternative energy sources, said the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Tampa Electric and Duke Electric Energy Florida have also begun developing solar power initiatives. Not only are regulatory measures demanding that utility companies lower carbon pollution rates; more residents in Florida are also pressuring their utility companies for more sources of clean, reliable energy.

“Our HVAC company has seen an increased demand for energy-efficient HVAC equipment recently,” said Aaron D. Freedman, President, Total Air, Inc.

“We offer an array of high SEER rated systems which are much more efficient and economical to run than the units of the past. These high efficiency systems are more costly, but our customers tell us the difference in their electric bills over time has made up the difference of the increased cost.”

FPL alone is spending $400 million on its three solar plants, but the company has been quick to state that its new developments are only a small piece of the puzzle. Along with cooperation from local HVAC companies and community initiatives, the Sunshine State is finally starting to tap into one of its most plentiful natural resources.

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