SUNNY SOLAR FUTURE FOR THE SUNSHINE STATE

The current population of the “Sunshine State,” Florida is approximately 21.64 million people. In December 2018, state utilities used natural gas (66.9%), coal (13.8%), nuclear energy (15.9%) and renewable energy (3.5%) to generate electricity. Solar energy is the primary source of renewable energy in Florida.

The state’s dependence on natural gas has offset the high cost of coal and nuclear energy to keep electricity costs below the average electricity price of 12.5 ¢ per kWh in the United States. In December 2018, the average cost of electricity in Florida was U.S. 11.9 ¢ per kWh, which is the 26th lowest price in the United States. However, the high cost of coal and nuclear power is causing state utilities to accelerate the move to renewable energy.

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has begun construction on four new utility scale solar parks. The four new solar parks will be in Okeechobee County, Palm Beach County, Suwanee County and Manatee Country. The solar parks are scheduled to begin operation in 2020. These solar parks are part of FPL’s plan to install 30 million solar panels by 2030 at over 100 new solar parks in Florida.

FPL is an electric utility that serves 10 million Florida residents. FPL is headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida and is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Inc. is an energy company with operations across the United States and Canada. FPL currently operates 18 utility scale solar parks in Florida, which have a total capacity of approximately 1,250 MW.

The state of Florida has been slow to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy. FLP is taking an aggressive position to increase solar energy across the state. In my opinion, FLP and other Florida utilities should further accelerate their move to renewable energy.

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