By Ivan Penn, Tampa Bay Times @Consumers_Edge
Florida's largest investor owned utility announced plans Monday to build three new solar farms that would nearly double the state's solar capacity.
In its announcement, Florida Power & Light said it had found a "cost-effective" way to expand solar power in Florida and proposed to install the systems at three sites in its service area. The utility proposes to add 225 megawatts of solar to the state's current 229 megawatts by the end of next year in Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties.
FPL is still refining the details of the project so the utility did not provide cost estimates. But the company said there would be no significant impact on customer rates.
"Over the past decade, we have continuously focused on advancing reliable, affordable, clean energy for our customers," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "In particular, we have been working especially hard to find ways to advance solar energy in Florida without increasing electricity costs, and we have developed what we believe will be a cost-effective plan.
But FPL utility noted in a news release that "solar power — even the most economical large-scale installation — is generally not yet cost effective in FPL's service area."