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Homestead Public Services Energy (HPS Energy) announced its participation in the Florida Municipal Solar Project, a large-scale solar energy project that will enable HPS-Energy to provide renewable energy to its customers in the most cost-effective way. Designed to generate 223.5-megawatts of solar energy, the planned Florida Municipal Solar Project will be one of the largest municipal-backed solar projects in the United States. Project plans call for three solar farms expected to generate 74.5 megawatts each.
The Florida Municipal Solar Project is a joint effort between HPS Energy, 11 additional Florida municipal electric utilities Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) and NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC. FMPA is serving as the project coordinator. The builder, owner and operator of the solar farms is Florida-based NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC. HPS Energy, along with fellow participating municipal electric utilities, will purchase power from the project. There are no up-front costs for the participating municipal electric utilities, and HPS Energy will only pay for the power it purchases.
“By working together, Florida municipal electric utilities can collectively build larger, more efficient solar installations that will lower the cost of solar energy so we can provide our citizens with affordable, emissions-free electricity,” said Barbara Quiñones, HPS Energy Director. “We are pleased to be a part of this project and are looking forward to the next project milestone.”
HPS Energy will purchase 10 megawatts of power from the Florida Municipal Solar Project. One megawatt serves approximately 200 typical residential electric customers in Florida. Pricing for this solar power will be very competitive. With the energy price guaranteed at $40/MW‐hr or less, it can be compared very favorably to the City's current average price for purchased power of approximately $70/MW‐hr. Also, with the addition of 10 megawatts of energy from this solar project, coupled with the existing 15 megawatts of power HPS Energy receives from the Miami‐Dade County waste‐to‐energy plant, the City will meet approximately 25% of its total power capacity needs through renewable resources at excellent prices.
As part of the project, approximately 900,000 solar panels will be installed on three solar farms expected to be built in Osceola and Orange Counties. Combined, the three solar sites will total approximately 1,200 acres, or the equivalent of 900 football fields filled with solar panels. Panels will be installed on a racking system that utilizes single-axis tracking technology, which means a computer-controlled motor will move the panel to track the sun as it moves from east to west, maximizing the panel’s power output.
After an estimated 18-month permitting process, construction is expected to begin in early 2020, and the project should be operational by June 30, 2020.
The Florida Municipal Solar Project was announced at an event held on May 4 at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa. Barbara Quiñones joined representatives from FMPA, NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC, and fellow participating municipal electric utilities at a ceremonial signing of the project agreement.
For more information on the Florida Municipal Solar Project, visit www.fmpa.com. For more information on HPS Energy, visit www.cityofhomestead.com/energy.