Florida Power & Light (FPL) will build the world’s largest solar-powered battery system in a bid to accelerate the retirement of two of its fossil fuel generation units. FPL says the battery system will have four times the capacity of the largest battery system in use today.
FPL is replacing two aging natural gas power plants with clean renewable energy systems. FPL says the transition will save customers more than $100 million, and will eliminate over 1 million tons of CO2 emissions.
The new Manatee Energy Storage Center will have 409 megawatts of capacity and will serve as the storage system for an existing solar power plant in Manatee County. FPL will deploy energy from the battery system during times of higher demand, offsetting the need to run other power plants during peak loads.
Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, called the new battery system a “monumental milestone in realizing the full benefits of solar power,” in a statement.
“Replacing a large, aging fossil fuel plant with a mega battery that’s adjacent to a large solar plant” is a “world-first accomplishment,” he added.
The Manatee Energy Storage Center is part of a wider initiative to modernize FPL power generating assets. The utility is planning several solar power plants and smaller battery installations across the state, in addition to efficiency upgrades to combustion turbines at other power plants. All told, FPL plans to replace 1,638 megawatts of generating capacity. It will also shutter its last remaining coal plant in the state by the end of the year.
FPL pointed to continued decline in prices for battery and solar technology as an impetus for the transition. The company currently operates 18 solar power plants across the state, and announced plans to construct four more in 2019, part of its initiative to install 30 million additional solar panels by 2030.