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Solar Energy Florida Power and Light's Martin Solar Thermal Plant

Published on December 2nd, 2008 | by Timothy B. Hurst

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Construction of Florida's Largest Solar Plant Begins

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December 2nd, 2008 by
 

Florida Power and Light\'s Martin Solar Thermal Plant

[social_buttons]Florida Power & Light, the state’s biggest utility, broke ground today on what it says will be the first utility-scale solar investment in the state — and the first hybrid solar facility in the world to combine a solar-thermal field with a combined-cycle natural gas power plant.


Consisting of 180,000 mirrors spread out over 500 acres, FPL’s 75-megawatt Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center is situated on the Atlantic coast just north of Palm Beach County.FPL’s new facility is 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. It also matches solar power with an existing combined-cycle natural gas plant, so that when the sun is not shining, the natural gas can take over the work of powering the turbines.

Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist, a big advocate of renewable energy and environmental protection, lauded the ground-breaking.

“Florida’s future growth and economic strength depends on how we address climate change, and we know we can reduce greenhouse gases by using fewer fossil fuels and more natural energy sources like solar,” said Gov. Crist. “This solar facility is a significant step in that direction.”

The plant is the first of three FPL solar facilities state regulators have approved in Florida, which, according to the utility, will make the state the second-largest solar energy producer in the country. 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. Combined, these projects help strengthen FPL Group’s position as the nation’s clean energy leader.

The Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center will provide enough power to serve about 11,000 homes. Over 30 years, the solar facility will prevent the emissions of more than 2.75 million tons of greenhouse gases.

Image: © Florida Power and Light

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About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.



  • Henry Gibson

    The reason that there are mandates and tax credits for wind and solar energy is that they are more expensive than natural gas and much more expensive than coal. Speculative high energy prices have ruined the economy of the world. The higher prices for solar and wind including the credits and taxes will also be detrimental to industry which will be driven entirely to China where about fifty new coal power plants are built every year. They are also building a limited number of nuclear power plants, but they take too long. Any one who wishes to use solar energy can do it on their own, but I do not wish to pay for it through taxes. When I calculated a return on investment for the windturbine that I bought, it was far negative but so was every car.

    Mandated Capstone cogeneration turbines for every new commercial building will save much CO2 and money for their owners. Honda cogeneration for homes is not yet ripe for Florida. ..HG..

  • Henry Gibson

    The reason that there are mandates and tax credits for wind and solar energy is that they are more expensive than natural gas and much more expensive than coal. Speculative high energy prices have ruined the economy of the world. The higher prices for solar and wind including the credits and taxes will also be detrimental to industry which will be driven entirely to China where about fifty new coal power plants are built every year. They are also building a limited number of nuclear power plants, but they take too long. Any one who wishes to use solar energy can do it on their own, but I do not wish to pay for it through taxes. When I calculated a return on investment for the windturbine that I bought, it was far negative but so was every car.

    Mandated Capstone cogeneration turbines for every new commercial building will save much CO2 and money for their owners. Honda cogeneration for homes is not yet ripe for Florida. ..HG..

  • http://globalpatriot.com Global Patriot

    Bit by bit, the movement toward renewable energy continues, and while the progress is still moving at a slow pace, those who have the vision continue to provide momentum forward.

  • http://globalpatriot.com Global Patriot

    Bit by bit, the movement toward renewable energy continues, and while the progress is still moving at a slow pace, those who have the vision continue to provide momentum forward.

  • http://carbonnation.info Peter Fairley

    Hybrid power plants that combine a solar thermal field and natural gas heat to feed the same steam turbine are a great idea. But Florida isn’t where it all began. Two such hybrid plants are already under construction in Hassi R’mel, Algeria, and Beni Mathar, Morocco.

    That said, given the sometimes glacial pace of developments in North Africa, Florida’s plant could be the first to fire up.

    See my Carbon-Nation webjournal (http://carbonnation.info) for more on the technologies available to clean up our energy systems.

    Peter Fairley

  • http://carbonnation.info Peter Fairley

    Hybrid power plants that combine a solar thermal field and natural gas heat to feed the same steam turbine are a great idea. But Florida isn’t where it all began. Two such hybrid plants are already under construction in Hassi R’mel, Algeria, and Beni Mathar, Morocco.

    That said, given the sometimes glacial pace of developments in North Africa, Florida’s plant could be the first to fire up.

    See my Carbon-Nation webjournal (http://carbonnation.info) for more on the technologies available to clean up our energy systems.

    Peter Fairley

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