World’s largest solar-powered battery – 900MWh – unveiled in Florida

The Florida Power and Light Company has this week completed work on the world’s largest solar-powered battery, the 409MW/900MWh Manatee Solar Energy Center which will be charged by the nearby FPL solar plant.

FPL commissioned the newly completed Manatee Solar Energy Center with a light and drone show, suitably powered by electricity generated from the installation, which FPL claims is a “world-record breaking” solar-powered battery.

It may well be the biggest “solar powered battery”, although it is worth pointing out that the solar farm at the centre is just 74.5MW. The battery is being billed as vital to the local electricity supply for its ability to continue power supply during cloudy weather or at night.

“It’s been a momentous year for clean energy in Florida – FPL opened 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 largest solar-powered battery in the world,” said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO.

“Since embarking on the largest solar expansion in the nation, the company has also installed more than 13 million solar panels and is already 45% of the way toward reaching our ‘30-by-30’ goal to install 30 million solar panels across the state of Florida by 2030.

“What makes me most proud is that these projects are cost-effective for customers, which helps keep bills low over the long term. This battery is another example of how FPL has become a leader in clean energy and sustainability without sacrificing affordability or reliability.”

Construction of the battery facility began at the beginning of the year, while the solar plant was completed in 2016.

According to FPL, its new solar-powered battery is the world’s largest battery when measured by generating output and the world’s largest solar-powered battery when measured by both total output and capacity per hour.

It consists of 132 energy storage containers deployed across a 40-acre plot of land, the battery is able to deliver enough electricity equivalent to the needs of approximately 329,000 homes for more than two hours.

FLP does not say who provided the battery technology for the project, but does mention having conducted “years of research” into big batteries and “major breakthroughs in energy storage technology.”

According to the release this week, FPL built a combined operating solar and energy storage center in 2018 at Babcock Ranch in Charlotte County.

And in addition to the Manatee facility, it “continues to execute on a 50 MW battery storage pilot program that comprises eight projects, including a building-sized battery in Miami and innovative microgrids in Riviera Beach and on FIU’s engineering campus.”

FPL is the largest energy company in the US on the basis of retail electricity produced and sold. It is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy.

Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.

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