Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) unveiled what it is calling the world’s largest solar-powered battery, the Manatee Energy Storage Center, last year in December. FPL filled the night sky with light and a drone display powered by the solar battery charged with power from the solar array adjacent to the Manatee Energy Storage Center in Parrish, Florida, during a commissioning ceremony.
The newly functioning battery has a capacity of 409 MW and can supply 900 MWh of energy, which is enough to power about 329,000 households for more than two hours. During the day, the battery system stores excess solar energy generated by the Manatee Solar Energy Center’s solar array.
FPL will counter the requirement to run other power plants by deploying energy from the battery to the grid when there is a higher demand for electricity. As a result, pollutants are reduced even more, and consumers save money on gasoline prices.
The Manatee Energy Storage Center is a massive battery made up of 132 energy storage containers spread across a 40-acre parcel of land, about comparable to 30 football fields. On a 751-acre property, it is powered by a field of over 340,000 solar panels. The Manatee Energy Storage Center is part of a larger FPL plan to retire two natural gas producing units from the 1970s.
More on the Manatee Energy Storage Center
FPL’s investments in battery storage technologies complement the company’s solar energy development. FPL aims to finish construction on eight more solar energy centres by early next year, in addition to this solar-powered battery storage plant. FPL anticipates that by the end of the decade, approximately 40% of the company’s electricity will be provided by zero-emissions energy sources, a more than 65 per cent increase from 2020.
“It’s been a watershed moment for clean energy in Florida – FPL began the year by formally shutting down its last coal-fired plant in the state, and now we’re closing the year by shattering a world record and commissioning the world’s largest solar-powered battery,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.
Plans underway for construction of world’s largest solar battery plant in the USA
Plans for the construction of the world’s largest solar battery plant in Parrish, Florida in the USA are underway. The plans are being carried out by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) one of the nation’s cleanest energy companies. This project is one of the largest solar expansion plans by the company in the country.
“Even as we aggressively implement our plan to install 30 million solar panels by 2030, we never lose sight of finding innovative ways to bring our customers the benefits of solar energy, even when the sun’s not shining,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “Replacing a large, ageing fossil fuel plant with a mega battery that’s adjacent to a large solar plant is another world-first accomplishment,” he added.
The future solar battery plant
The upcoming FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center will be constructed on a 40-acre space next to the 500-acre FPL solar power plant at a cost of approximately US$ 350m.
According to an FPL press release, the facility will have 409MW capacity; the equivalent of approximately 100 million iPhone batteries, when it begins operating in late 2021. With this capacity, the FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center will be four times the capacity of the current largest battery system in operation.
This facility will be charged by the existing FPL solar power plant in Manatee County which generates enough energy to power about 15,000 homes.
Expectations for the project
Upon completion, the FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center is expected to store enough energy to power approximately 329,000 homes for two straight hours.
Furthermore, by deploying energy from the batteries when there is a higher demand for electricity, FPL will offset the need to run other power plants consequently reducing emissions and saving customers money through avoided fuel costs.
World’s largest solar battery nears completion in Florida
The world’s largest solar battery is close to being completed in Manatee County, Florida. Constructed by the Florida Power and Light company, the solar-powered battery sits on 40 acres of land and will have the ability to capture solar energy during the day from sites such as the Manatee Solar Energy Center. The energy stored will be used to power nearly 330,000 homes in Desoto and Manatee counties on days when the solar energy isn’t as bright or at night.
The US$300 million battery will have a capacity of 409 MW and once completed, Florida Power and Light company will be able to retire the existing power plant, a project that will save US$50 million and reduce carbon emissions by nearly 1 million tons.
Efforts to increase the amount of solar power used in Florida
The construction of the FPL battery is a part of a grander effort by the solar company to increase the amount of solar power used in Florida’s electrical grid. In 2005, some 70% of all energy Florida Power and Light generated came from oil.
To cut down those numbers, Florida Power and Light set a goal in 2018 to install 30 million solar panels by 2030, and the company is 40% on the way. They are also working on pilot programs that would allow it to deploy battery storage trailers to help motorists who drive electric vehicles fuel up during blackouts like a storm.
“For almost 100 years, every utility would instantaneously produce all the energy required, and it would be instantaneously consumed in other parts of the system. Finally, at scale, with this project and a few others, we are starting to bank energy for later.
In West Palm Beach, we are underway on this pilot. We can move these trailers around the state. Imagine a local grid outage or an evacuation of a certain area for a storm, we can move these trailers, pre-position them, and drivers can come up, charge their car, and then continue on,” said Matt Valle, the Vice President of Development at Florida Power and Light.