FPL Breaks Ground on Utility-Scale Solar Facility

Florida Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and local community leaders joined officials of Florida Power & Light Company on Dec. 2 to break ground on FPL's Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which will be the world's first hybrid solar energy plant and the first utility-scale solar facility in Florida, according to a press release. FPL's new 75-megawatt Martin Center marks an important early step in Florida's quest to use more sun for power.

As the first hybrid solar facility in the world to combine a solar-thermal field with a combined-cycle natural gas power plant, the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center will use less fossil fuel when heat from the sun is available to help produce the steam needed to generate electricity. This innovative technology will help protect customers from volatile fossil fuel costs as it reduces Florida's carbon footprint. The solar facility will consist of approximately 180,000 mirrors over roughly 500 acres of land at the existing FPL Martin Plant location.

"The Governor and I want to commend FPL for being a leader in the use of solar energy as the world's No. 1 producer of solar thermal energy and one of the largest generators of wind power," said Kottkamp. "We believe there is no better place than here, in the Sunshine State, to lead the way in expanding solar technology to homes and businesses."

The Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center will provide enough power to serve about 11,000 homes. The implementation of solar thermal technology will also decrease fossil-fuel usage by approximately 41 billion cubic feet of natural gas and more than 600,000 barrels of oil.

The facility will be the nation's second-largest solar energy facility when it is fully operational in 2010. The Martin facility is the largest of three solar projects FPL is building in Florida. With a combined total of 110 megawatts of emissions-free energy, the facilities will make Florida the No. 2 producer of solar energy nationwide and will avoid nearly 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide over the lives of the plants.

In addition to the Martin facility, FPL will also build two other solar projects in Florida – one at NASA's Kennedy Space Center and the other in Desoto County. These facilities will add 35 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity to the state.

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