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FPL working to bring Obama to solar plant opening

DeSoto plant Florida Power & Light is gearing up for national attention at the opening of its solar power plant in DeSoto County this month and the headliner will be: President Barack Obama, according to sources close to the electric company.

The plant opening, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed today (perhaps to accommodate the president's schedule?) The opening puts Gov. Charlie Crist in a precarious political spot, however. Does the Republican governor and advocate of renewable energy attend the opening of what is expected to be the nation's largest solar photovoltaic plant, or stay home because the president is going to be there.

Crist appeared in Fort Myers with Obama in February, gave the president hug, and immediately was blasted by his party's conservative core. His U.S. Senate opponent Marco Rubio ran an internet ad critical of him.

The opening of the solar plant also helps boost the Juno Beach-based company's bona fides, as it has been tarred in the recent criticism of the Florida Public Service Commission for allowing its lobbyists and lawyers who work with the PSC to be too aggressive in its approach to regulators. FPL is hoping to win approval for a 30 percent base rate increase beginning next year.

The solar plant, with more than 90,000 photovoltaic panels, will convert sunshine into enough electricity to power more than 3,000 homes. FPL's parent, FPL Group, lists itself as the largest generator of renewable energy from wind and sun in North America. Its president, Lew Hay, dined with Obama at the White House earlier this month and FPL spokesman, Mark Bubriski, was a spokesman for Obama's Florida campaign.

Here's FPL's video of the DeSoto County solar plant: