Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Oct 13

Powering Up The Nation’s Largest Solar Power Plant

Posted in Energy Industry | Future Technology | Solar Power

Solar Power Plant Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has announced the near completion of its DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia, Florida. This solar power plant will be producing electricity by the end of month. This project is ahead of its schedule. The plant has an impressive number of 90,000 photovoltaic panels. Experts claim that this solar power plant will generate around 110MW of electricity by the end of 2010. This will provide Florida with the distinction of the second largest solar power-producing state in the country.

FPL is building three commercial-scale, non conventional solar power plants. They are DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, Florida, solar energy centers in Martin County and at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Together, these will produce a total of 110 megawatts of capacity by the end of 2010. They are expected to make Florida the second largest solar power-producing state in the country.

FPL Vice President and Chief Development Officer Eric Silagy shares his views with the world, “Large-scale solar projects such as FPL’s DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center provide Florida with the opportunity to create and attract more clean-energy jobs and produce millions of dollars in new revenue for local governments while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fighting the effects of climate change. FPL is proud to lead the development of clean, renewable solar energy in Florida, and we are positioned to build even more over the next two to three years if the state`s legislative and regulatory leaders continue to support solar energy.”

The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center was constructed in less than a year. The energy produced by this plant will power more than 3,000 homes. There are some pleasant side effects too. The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center also generated more than 400 jobs while this project was going on. The county will also be benefited because it will receive annual tax revenues that will amount to $2 million for schools and other local services by the end of next year.

What is so endearing about the clean and green energy? The answer is it produces desirable side effects. This solar plant will not consume fuel, use no water and produce no waste. The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center will reduce the release of more than 575,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. It translates into taking more than 4,500 cars off the road every year. If we look further we will find that the electricity generated by this facility will reduce the use of fossil fuels in Florida by more than 277,000 barrels of oil and 7 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

  • Mike Maybury


    This type of clean electricity generation needs to be multiplied in all suitable locations worldwide. Prices should come down as more solar units are manufactured.

  • Thomas Van Cleef

    your calculation on number of houses powered by this array is low by a factor of 25.

    800 homes per megawatt is estimated output, 110 mw

    80k homes powered.

  • hsassoc

    Great news for the solar industry in Florida. They should be challenging California for the number one spot. Did the feed in tariff in Florida go through?

  • James

    80k homes powered is awesome. So it only takes a little more than one photovoltaic panel to power a home.

  • adrian louw

    Here in South Africa with plenty of sunshine we are green with jealousy at this brilliant green solution! Go Florida!

  • Maria

    Though this is great news and definitely solar/wind is the way to go, hands down, there is something else to consider. To say that it uses no water, no fuel, and makes no waste hides the truth. To manufacture photovoltaic panel takes immense water, fuel and creates waste. Rather than powering only 3000 homes (or 80,000) why not x times more, if consumers would only put into the equation the word conservation. Alternative energies need to go further to really make an impact and the only way this will happen is if we as a society reduce our consumption instead of expecting the same supply through different means. Clean energy is not entirely clean.

  • Larrison

    My numbers show this powers around 4900 hours. The 800 is way too low, but then 80,000 is wildly off as well.

    The plant is stated to have 25 MW peak output. But peak output only occurs at high solar noon. Averaged over the day and over a year, the power plant will probably produce around 150 Megawatt-hours per day. In a year that’s 54,750 Megawatt hours.

    Typically households in the US (according to the Energy Information Agency of the US Department of Energy) use around 11,200 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This varies by state — some states use more, others use less depending upon the local mix of energy, and the need for heating/ cooling/ lights and how much of that energy comes from electricity.

    Using the US average 11,200 kWh or 11.2 Megawatt hours of electricity use per household, I get this is enough to power *on average* about 4888 households.

    You’ll still need natural gas or nuclear or other power plants — this power plant doesn’t put out energy at night, and produces markedly different outputs between sunny summer afternoons and darker cloudy winter afternoons. So something needs to stand in the wings and step in when its not producing max possible power, or when dark. But the combination will reduce fossil fuel use by quite a bit.

  • Philip Skiba

    Nice one! I see that the USA finally are on the right trail…

  • Leah Mosqueda Ruuti

    Alternative Energy was big in the 80’s and just never caught on main stream. Will it this time? I think if it was a bit more affordable, more people would go green.

  • Janet Nash

    I’m not cash rich. In fact quite the opposite. But I pay the tiny bit extra for my electricity to be green generated, and then I end up saving huge money bcz I am more conscious of conservation now. I put all kitchen, business, communication, and entertainment electronics on switches (some wall, some surge protector strips) that are turned off as they are not in use, just like my lights. All of my appliances are energy star rated, and I have insulated every crack and cranny in my home. My energy bills are less than half of what they were before my energy overhaul. But I am rich in the good feeling that I know I’m doing my part, and I am rich with hope and nearly confident that we can do what is right, each one of us to the best of our abilities, for the common good as a society, and as a species.

  • Andy Cipollo

    Florida is so far ahead of so many other states in solar implementation. Kudos to FPL for their excellent vision and foresight!

  • Sherri Jones

    This is good news for Florida and long overdue… slowly creeping into the 21st century.

  • ernie

    I am amazed at the volume of information i have being able to gather about a solar generator, quite interesting the US preaches green revolution, and clean energy on one hand and practicing it on the other, they should also step up efforts to also encourage reduction in use and need for power, also of immense importance is encouraging R and D in solar power generation so this technology can come to Africa which also substantially will be a potential big user of power in the nearest future i foresee a situation where, clean energy will be difficult to enforce on Africans when they are not used to it or when they cannot even get it cheap maybe carbon credit or whatever that means will do the magic to encourage them.

  • ernie

    Glad to know about these whole details including the thread of comments, the US are a great at making true their resolve to go clean energy, but they should also intensify efforts on encouraging R and D in solar energy generation so that poor African countries can buy into this idea quickly it might be a little difficult to talk them into clean energy in the future, maybe the carbon credit stuff will help.

  • Mike Maybury

    Unfortunately only one small step. People who recommend non-fossil energy generation need to realise that a blend of various energy sources are required in order to produce a continuous supply as required by consumers.

    Solar is only available in daytime and is rather weak in winter time. Wind only works in some locations and in certain weather conditions. Wave energy is not very consistent, except in particular locations. Tidal energy is possibly the most consistant of alternative sources, producing energy at consistent times, though varying slightly according to tides. Even this does not operate for 24 hours daily.

    Connecting all these sources via a grid, perhaps specially constructed for alternative energy, but certainly country wide,or even continental wide is an important project. Lowering energy needs is primary, but needs government action, to ensure that house and business owners are compelled or encouraged to reduce consumption. Government needs to legislate to enforce charging for energy to encourage less use of energy, and to make larger consumers pay higher prices.

    Other basic ways to reduce waste of energy is to work from home, live near work and schools, and shops (preferably walking or cycling distance). The average person in the USA needs 5 worlds for their energy, food, travel etc. requirements. This needs to be reduced to the one world which is what we’ve got, while the poor people of the world develop to take their fair share.

    The reduction in CO2 production is therefore 80% for the West. The quickest way to achieve this overnight in one area is that of diet. An immediate change to a vegetarian diet will reduce CO2 from our diet by about 40%, a vegan diet will bring this down to 80%. Immediate changes like working from home etc. are under some individual’s control. The insulation of houses and other changes like installation of alternative heating and energy may involve high costs to achieve 80% reductions, and these will clearly take time.

    In short our current wasteful and expensive way of life is not sustainable. Wealthy lifestyles involving living in mansions, commuting long distances and flying all over the world are the new anti-social behaviour!

  • peter duffy

    A central location still requires a grid, grids fail. Solar panels and solar water heaters need to be on each and every house, and or business. Arcadia Florida was ravaged during hurricane Charley. What will happen during the next big one?

  • Bruce

    What a beautiful sight–solar panels under a bright blue sky. However, in this area of the world, there is a terrible downside that should be considered. This area along with other parts of the east coast are especially vulnerable to hurricanes each year, which can easily uproot acres of solar panels, not to mention trailer parks. My vote would go to Arizona!

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