JUNO BEACH, Fla., March 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today announced plans to build four new solar power plants this year that are expected to begin powering customers in early 2020:
"The construction of four additional solar energy centers is just the latest demonstration of our laser focus on advancing solar energy for all of our customers, while keeping their bills lower than 90 percent of the country," said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. "These solar plants are part of our commitment to installing 30 million more solar panels by 2030 across more than 100 new solar sites, resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs here in our state."
New statistics demonstrate the positive impact Florida's solar expansion continues to have on job creation in the state. Florida ranked second in the nation in 2018 in solar employment, behind California, according to a recent report by The Solar Foundation. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity projects solar jobs to grow by more than 60 percent through 2026, compared to statewide job growth of about 10 percent. At peak construction, each FPL solar plant employs about 200 workers. FPL estimates that about 3,000 jobs have been created since 2016 when the company embarked on one of the largest solar expansions in the country.
Each of the new FPL solar plants will be capable of generating 74.5 megawatts of power from the sun, for a combined addition of nearly 300 megawatts of new solar capacity – enough to power about 60,000 homes. Built cost-effectively, the new solar plants will bring an additional $26 million in net-savings to FPL customers over the long-term.
FPL Okeechobee Solar Energy Center, Okeechobee County
The new solar plant will expand FPL's clean energy footprint in Okeechobee County, which will also soon be home to the FPL Okeechobee Clean Energy Center. The natural gas power plant is projected to be the cleanest most fuel-efficient power plant of its kind when it begins serving customers next month.
"FPL's investments in clean power generation continue to be a game-changer for our county," said Jeff Sumner, president, Sumner Engineering & Consulting and chairman of the Economic Council of Okeechobee County. "Investments like these provide a vital injection of economic activity to our area and help support our local community for years to come."
FPL Hibiscus Solar Energy Center, Palm Beach County
The new solar plant will be FPL's largest installation to date in Palm Beach County, where FPL and its parent company, NextEra Energy, are headquartered.
"We're fortunate to have a world leader in renewable energy located right here in Palm Beach County," said Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO, Business Development Board of Palm Beach County. "FPL's ability to deliver some of the cleanest and most affordable power in the country is a major competitive advantage that helps us attract businesses to our area."
FPL Echo River Solar Energy Center, Suwannee County
Visible to thousands of drivers traveling Interstate 10 every day, the new FPL solar plant will be the largest solar installation in Suwannee County to date.
"FPL's solar investment is an ideal fit for our community as it supports the growth of clean tech and ecotourism - two industry sectors that provide for a diversified and sustainable regional economy," said Jimmy Norris, director, Suwannee County Economic Development. "And its location will help us advertise that Suwannee County is playing a role in Florida's transition from the Sunshine State to the Solar State."
FPL Southfork Solar Energy Center, Manatee County
FPL's second solar plant in Manatee County will join the FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center, which was built in 2016 and started the company's unprecedented solar expansion.
"It's exciting to continue to be a part of what FPL's solar expansion is doing for our state," said Manatee County Commissioner Priscilla Whisenant Trace. "We know firsthand the benefits a solar plant brings to our community and look forward to the additional economic and environmental benefits, including more green energy and jobs, another solar facility will bring to Manatee County."
Innovative Environmental Partnerships
FPL continues to expand its solar stewardship program with environmental organizations, such as Audubon Florida, to enhance the environments encompassing the solar plants. The stewardship programs include planting additional pollinator habitats and preserving environmentally sensitive areas.
"Our partnership with FPL has resulted in solar sites that incorporate environmentally responsible features, such as native plants that benefit Florida's birds, wildlife and pollinator species into the design of the solar plant," said Julie Wraithmell, executive director of Audubon Florida.
Florida's largest generator of solar energy
FPL currently operates 18 solar power plants, two that feature innovative energy storage, and hundreds of smaller solar installations*. Florida's largest generator of solar power, FPL has approximately 1,250 megawatts of universal solar capacity, including:
For more information, visit www.FPL.com/solar
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest energy company in the United States as measured by retail electricity produced and sold, serving more than 5 million customer accounts or an estimated 10 million+ people across the state of Florida. FPL's typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 30 percent lower than the latest national average and among the lowest in the U.S. FPL's service reliability is better than 99.98 percent, and its highly fuel-efficient power plant fleet is one of the cleanest among all electric companies nationwide. The company was recognized in 2018 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities by Market Strategies International for the fifth consecutive year. A leading Florida employer with approximately 8,700 employees, FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, ethics and diversity, and has been ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune's 2019 list of "World's Most Admired Companies." NextEra Energy is also the parent company of Gulf Power Company, which serves more than 460,000 customers in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida, and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a world leader in battery storage. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com, www.FPL.com, www.GulfPower.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.
Cautionary Statements and Risk Factors That May Affect Future Results
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical facts, but instead represent the current expectations of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NextEra Energy) and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) regarding future operating results and other future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of NextEra Energy's and FPL's control. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, among others, statements concerning adjusted earnings per share expectations and future operating performance, statements concerning future dividends, and results of acquisitions. In some cases, you can identify the forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as "will," "may result," "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "intend," "plan," "seek," "potential," "projection," "forecast," "predict," "goals," "target," "outlook," "should," "would" or similar words or expressions. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future performance. The future results of NextEra Energy and FPL and their business and financial condition are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause their actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, or may require them to limit or eliminate certain operations. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following: effects of extensive regulation of NextEra Energy's and FPL's business operations; inability of NextEra Energy and FPL to recover in a timely manner any significant amount of costs, a return on certain assets or a reasonable return on invested capital through base rates, cost recovery clauses, other regulatory mechanisms or otherwise; impact of political, regulatory and economic factors on regulatory decisions important to NextEra Energy and FPL; disallowance of cost recovery by FPL based on a finding of imprudent use of derivative instruments; effect of any reductions or modifications to, or elimination of, governmental incentives or policies that support utility scale renewable energy projects of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and its affiliated entities (NextEra Energy Resources) or the imposition of additional tax laws, policies or assessments on renewable energy; impact of new or revised laws, regulations, interpretations or ballot and regulatory initiatives on NextEra Energy and FPL; capital expenditures, increased operating costs and various liabilities attributable to environmental laws, regulations and other standards applicable to NextEra Energy and FPL; effects on NextEra Energy and FPL of federal or state laws or regulations mandating new or additional limits on the production of greenhouse gas emissions; exposure of NextEra Energy and FPL to significant and increasing compliance costs and substantial monetary penalties and other sanctions as a result of extensive federal regulation of their operations and businesses; effect on NextEra Energy and FPL of changes in tax laws, guidance or policies as well as in judgments and estimates used to determine tax-related asset and liability amounts; impact on NextEra Energy and FPL of adverse results of litigation; effect on NextEra Energy and FPL of failure to proceed with projects under development or inability to complete the construction of (or capital improvements to) electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, gas infrastructure facilities or other facilities on schedule or within budget; impact on development and operating activities of NextEra Energy and FPL resulting from risks related to project siting, financing, construction, permitting, governmental approvals and the negotiation of project development agreements; risks involved in the operation and maintenance of electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, gas infrastructure facilities, retail gas distribution system in Florida and other facilities; effect on NextEra Energy and FPL of a lack of growth or slower growth in the number of customers or in customer usage; impact on NextEra Energy and FPL of severe weather and other weather conditions; threats of terrorism and catastrophic events that could result from terrorism, cyber attacks or other attempts to disrupt NextEra Energy's and FPL's business or the businesses of third parties; inability to obtain adequate insurance coverage for protection of NextEra Energy and FPL against significant losses and risk that insurance coverage does not provide protection against all significant losses; a prolonged period of low gas and oil prices could impact NextEra Energy Resources' gas infrastructure business and cause NextEra Energy Resources to delay or cancel certain gas infrastructure projects and could result in certain projects becoming impaired; risk to NextEra Energy Resources of increased operating costs resulting from unfavorable supply costs necessary to provide NextEra Energy Resources' full energy and capacity requirement services; inability or failure by NextEra Energy Resources to manage properly or hedge effectively the commodity risk within its portfolio; effect of reductions in the liquidity of energy markets on NextEra Energy's ability to manage operational risks; effectiveness of NextEra Energy's and FPL's risk management tools associated with their hedging and trading procedures to protect against significant losses, including the effect of unforeseen price variances from historical behavior; impact of unavailability or disruption of power transmission or commodity transportation facilities on sale and delivery of power or natural gas by NextEra Energy, including FPL; exposure of NextEra Energy and FPL to credit and performance risk from customers, hedging counterparties and vendors; failure of NextEra Energy or FPL counterparties to perform under derivative contracts or of requirement for NextEra Energy or FPL to post margin cash collateral under derivative contracts; failure or breach of NextEra Energy's or FPL's information technology systems; risks to NextEra Energy and FPL's retail businesses from compromise of sensitive customer data; losses from volatility in the market values of derivative instruments and limited liquidity in OTC markets; impact of negative publicity; inability of NextEra Energy and FPL to maintain, negotiate or renegotiate acceptable franchise agreements with municipalities and counties in Florida; occurrence of work strikes or stoppages and increasing personnel costs; NextEra Energy's ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate acquisitions, including the effect of increased competition for acquisitions; the inability to realize the anticipated benefits of the Gulf Power Company acquisition; environmental, health and financial risks associated with NextEra Energy Resources' and FPL's ownership and operation of nuclear generation facilities; liability of NextEra Energy and FPL for significant retrospective assessments and/or retrospective insurance premiums in the event of an incident at certain nuclear generation facilities; increased operating and capital expenditures and/or reduced revenues at nuclear generation facilities of NextEra Energy or FPL resulting from orders or new regulations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; inability to operate any of NextEra Energy Resources' or FPL's owned nuclear generation units through the end of their respective operating licenses or through expected shutdown; effect of disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the credit and capital markets or actions by third parties in connection with project-specific or other financing arrangements on NextEra Energy's and FPL's ability to fund their liquidity and capital needs and meet their growth objectives; inability of NextEra Energy, FPL and NextEra Energy Capital Holdings, Inc. to maintain their current credit ratings; impairment of NextEra Energy's and FPL's liquidity from inability of credit providers to fund their credit commitments or to maintain their current credit ratings; poor market performance and other economic factors that could affect NextEra Energy's defined benefit pension plan's funded status; poor market performance and other risks to the asset values of NextEra Energy's and FPL's nuclear decommissioning funds; changes in market value and other risks to certain of NextEra Energy's investments; effect of inability of NextEra Energy subsidiaries to pay upstream dividends or repay funds to NextEra Energy or of NextEra Energy's performance under guarantees of subsidiary obligations on NextEra Energy's ability to meet its financial obligations and to pay dividends on its common stock; the fact that the amount and timing of dividends payable on NextEra Energy's common stock, as well as the dividend policy approved by NextEra Energy's board of directors from time to time, and changes to that policy, are within the sole discretion of NextEra Energy's board of directors and, if declared and paid, dividends may be in amounts that are less than might be expected by shareholders; NEP's inability to access sources of capital on commercially reasonable terms could have an effect on its ability to consummate future acquisitions and on the value of NextEra Energy's limited partner interest in NextEra Energy Operating Partners, LP; and effects of disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the credit and capital markets on the market price of NextEra Energy's common stock. NextEra Energy and FPL discuss these and other risks and uncertainties in their annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 and other SEC filings, and this news release should be read in conjunction with such SEC filings made through the date of this news release. The forward-looking statements made in this news release are made only as of the date of this news release and NextEra Energy and FPL undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company