Major Solar Energy Project Announced by Florida Municipal Utilities

Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA), in conjunction with 12 Florida municipal electric utilities and NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC, announced plans for a large-scale solar energy project to provide renewable energy for customers in the most cost-effective way.

“We are working hard to lower the cost of solar power, so that we can provide emissions-free electricity for customers and add to our already low emissions generation portfolio,” said FMPA’s Jacob Williams, general manager and CEO of the Orlando-based wholesale power agency. “Building a large project, like this, helps make solar more cost effective.”

The 12 cities that will purchase power from the project include Alachua, Bartow, Beaches Energy Services (Jacksonville Beach), Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, Homestead, Keys Energy Services (Key West), Kissimmee Utility Authority, Lake Worth, Ocala, Orlando Utilities Commission, Wauchula and Winter Park.

Largest Municipal-Backed Solar Project

This joint effort, known as the Florida Municipal Solar Project, is one of the largest municipal-backed solar projects in the United States. Approximately 900,000 solar panels will be installed on three solar sites expected to be built in Osceola and Orange Counties.

Combined, the three solar sites will total approximately 1,200 acres, or the equivalent of 900 football fields filled with solar panels. Total electricity output will be 223.5 megawatts, which is enough energy to power 45,000 typical Florida homes. Each solar site is designed to generate 74.5 megawatts.

Large-Scale Solar More Cost Effective

With 12 cities working together, they can collectively build larger, more efficient solar installations. The power output from this project will be equal to 37,250 average-size rooftop solar systems.

In addition, the ground-mounted solar panels for this project will be installed with a computer-controlled tracking system to follow the sun daily as it moves from east to west, maximizing power output.

As a result, the cost of solar energy from this project is about one-third the cost of a typical private, rooftop system.

Cost of Solar Power Competitive

The utilities will be able to continue to keep electricity rates affordable because the cost of solar energy from this project is competitive with other forms of power generation.

Another benefit of this project is that there is no up-front cost to the cities for participating. They will only pay for power when it is produced.

Power to Flow in 2020

FMPA is serving as the project coordinator, and the 12 municipal utilities, who are member-owners of FMPA, will purchase power from the project.

The builder, owner and operator of the solar farms is Florida-based NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC, whose parent company is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun.

After an estimated 18-month permitting process, construction is expected to begin in early 2020 and should be operational by June 30, 2020.

Ceremonial Signing Event

The Florida Municipal Solar Project was announced at an event held today at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa. Representatives from FMPA, NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC, and the 12 municipal electric utilities took part in a ceremonial signing of the project agreement and inscribed their names on a solar panel.

For more information on the Florida Solar Municipal Project or FMPA, visit www.fmpa.com.

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