Photo:JEA's solar farm near Jacksonville International Airport
Northeast Florida Roundup
Sunspot: Several projects are making northeast Florida a solar leader
FPL is putting the finishing touches on two solar energy farms, one in Putnam County and the other straddling Alachua and Putnam.
Ikea opened its Jacksonville store with a 251,206-sq.-ft. rooftop solar array that the company says is the largest in Florida.
JEA, the utility serving Jacksonville, committed to a major expansion of its solar-generation capability. The utility is building five 50-megawatt solar plants, which will bring its total solar capacity to 300 megawatts in the next two years. That will provide about one-tenth of JEA’s electricity needs on a peak day and 25% to 30% of its needs on a temperate fall day, when there is less demand, says Steve McInall, director of electric resource planning.
McInall says lower costs for producing solar power make it the right time to expand.
“The price is the same as it costs to burn coal and natural gas,” he says. “At that point it really changes the dynamics.”
Based on data from the Environment America Research & Policy Center, Jacksonville will be generating more power from solar than any U.S. city by 2020, McInall says.
JEA will spend up to $50 million to build the solar plants.
“These solar initiatives reflect a direct response to customer demand and a broader shift to renewable energy resources,” says JEA Chief Executive Paul McElroy.