Solar Power Plant at Kennedy Supplying Electricity to Floridians
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A newly constructed solar power facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., officially is providing electricity to Florida homes. NASA, Florida Power & Light, or FPL, and political leaders commissioned FPL's Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center on Thursday.
The 10-megawatt solar plant was built by FPL, Florida's largest utility. It will feed FPL's electric grid, generating energy for more than 1,000 homes and reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by more than 227,000 tons.
FPL built a separate 1-megawatt solar power facility at Kennedy as part of this unique public-private partnership between NASA and FPL. That facility has been supplying the space center with electricity since late 2009.
"NASA is a pioneer in the use of solar power for space exploration, so it's fitting that we're working with FPL to expand the use and R&D of that renewable energy source at Kennedy where many of those missions were launched," said Bob Cabana, director of the Kennedy Space Center. "This type of commercial partnership with NASA helps provide Florida residents, and America's space program, with new sources of green power that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and improve the environment."
"Florida is poised to be a leader in America's growing clean-energy economy, which naturally includes solar power," said Rep. Suzanne Kosmas of Florida. "Bringing new clean-energy jobs to our communities is one of my top priorities. This joint effort between NASA and FPL is an example of how we can create jobs while investing in common-sense solutions to the economic, environmental and national security challenges we face today."
The 10-megawatt facility features approximately 35,000 highly efficient solar photovoltaic panels from SunPower Corporation on 60 acres at Kennedy. The panels are 50 percent more efficient than conventional solar panels.
"Like NASA, FPL is looking beyond the horizon. FPL's Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center is an important part of our state's clean-energy future, but large-scale solar projects like this one also have a very positive impact on the economy today," said FPL President and CEO Armando J. Olivera. "Projects like this and our Next Generation Solar Energy Centers in Martin and DeSoto give Florida the opportunity to create and attract clean-energy jobs and produce millions of dollars in new revenue for local governments while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fighting the effects of climate change at the same time."
Plans also are being discussed to expand the 10-megawatt facility's generating capacity to 100-megawatts at another Kennedy location. This expansion of the solar facilities is contingent on regulatory support and the passage of renewable energy legislation at the state level. If proven environmentally and economically feasible, an expansive field of photovoltaic solar panels will be constructed in phases on 500 or more acres of fallow Kennedy agricultural land and integrated into the utility's grid. A dedicated research and development facility to support continual improvement of solar renewable energy also would be established by SunPower and FPL's other partners at Kennedy's upcoming business complex, Exploration Park.
The proposed projects are being pursued under a five-year Memorandum of Understanding entered into by Kennedy and FPL in 2007 to promote jointly developed projects in renewable technologies.
For information about Florida Power & Light and its programs, visit: http://www.fpl.com
For information about SunPower, visit: http://www.sunpowercorp.com
For more information about NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy
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