Environment

FPL announces plan for first Miami-Dade solar plant

Florida Power & Light constructed this solar power plant in Charlotte County, which began supplying energy to customers last year. The company wants to build a similar-sized plant on 465 acres it owns in western Miami-Dade County.
Florida Power & Light constructed this solar power plant in Charlotte County, which began supplying energy to customers last year. The company wants to build a similar-sized plant on 465 acres it owns in western Miami-Dade County. Florida Power & Light

Florida Power & Light hopes to construct its first-ever solar power center in Miami-Dade County under a 10-year plan submitted to state utility officials Monday.

Under the plan, the utility outlined a network of small solar centers around the state that would add about 1,500 megawatts of power between 2019 and 2023. Among them is a field of panels on about 465 acres the utility owns on farm fields near Krome Avenue in western Miami-Dade County, spokeswoman Alys Daly said.

The plant would generate 74.5 megawatts, enough to power about 15,000 homes, she said.

1,500 mega wattsThe additional solar power FPL hopes to generate from a network of solar plants around the state over the next seven years

In addition, FPL unveiled plans to update its aging oil and gas-powered Dania Beach center, the site of the first power station built by the company in 1928 and last overhauled 25 years ago, spokesman David McDermitt said.

The improvements should save customers $300 million over the next 30 to 40 years, cut air emissions from the site by 70 percent and still reduce the company natural gas use statewide, he said.

“All of this is feasible as a result of the incredible high efficiency of the new technology in the new facility,” he said.

All of this is feasible as a result of the incredible high efficiency of the new technology in the new facility.

FPL spokesman David McDermitt

If approved, the utility would begin dismantling the plant late next year and have it back online in 2022.

The latest round of innovations follows a year of intense skirmishes between the company and solar advocates who fought to allow more affordable rooftop solar installations in the state. A constitutional amendment failed to make the ballot. FPL countered with its own amendment to bolster its position, which failed.

The company also came under criticism for asking to pass hefty improvement costs to customers by raising rates statewide by $1.3 billion last year. In November, after the hike was opposed by the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association, the Florida Retail Federation and others, the utility settled on a $400 million increase followed by an additional $411 million over the next three years. It has also been criticized for charging customers $281 million to cover the cost of two new nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point facility, which it then postponed amid rising problems with the plant’s cooling canals.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the Dania plant used coal, rather than oil.

Follow Jenny Staletovich on Twitter @jenstaletovich

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