DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center FAQs
What is the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center?
The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center opened as the largest solar photovoltaic facility in the country. The facility provides 25 MW of solar capacity and was built on 180 acres of land. The facility is produces an estimated average of 42,000 MWh of electricity annually. Construction of the plant began during the fourth quarter of 2008, and it began producing electricity in October 2009.
How does solar photovoltaic technology work?
Photovoltaic technology generates electricity directly from sunlight via an electronic process that occurs naturally in certain types of material. Electrons in certain types of crystals are freed by solar energy and can be induced to travel through an electrical circuit, powering any type of electronic device or load. Because solar power can only be generated when the sun is up, this project will only generate electricity during the day. Therefore, the energy is not produced on a continuous basis.
Learn how FPL photovoltaic solar panels work
What are the benefits of using solar photovoltaic energy?
Sunlight is an unlimited resource and is free. The energy produced is clean and emission-free. The panels used do not require fuel or water and produce no waste.
What are the community benefits of this project?
In addition to the environmental benefits to the community, DeSoto County received more than $2 million in additional property tax through 2010. Also, 400 jobs were created during the construction of the plant.
What additional infrastructure did FPL build to support the solar plant?
A new substation was constructed as part of the project.
How many people will the solar facility serve?
FPL projects this facility will produce an average of 42,000 MWh of electricity per year, enough to meet the needs of over 3,000 homes or over 7,000 people. This is equivalent to nearly 20 percent of DeSoto County.
What are the environmental benefits of this facility?
DeSoto solar facility is projected to prevent more than 575,000 tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this is equivalent to avoiding emissions from over 4,500 cars per year. The electricity generated from the next generation solar energy center is projected to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels by 7 million MMBtu of natural gas, 266,000 barrels of residual oil, and 11,000 barrels of distillate oil over the life of the facility, helping secure Florida’s energy independence.
Will wildlife be affected by the solar panels at the site?
No, FPL will erect an eight foot security fence around the perimeter of the project to prevent wildlife, with the exception of birds, from entering the project grounds.
What will happen to the plant during a hurricane?
Safety is always our number one concern. FPL has constructed the facility to conform to the Florida Building Code requirements related to wind loading.