World’s First Hybrid Solar Energy Plant Powers Florida Homes

Hybrid Solar Energy Plant In Florida

Hybrid Solar Energy Plant In Florida

The newest hybrid model isn’t a car, but the world’s first hybrid solar energy plant that went on the grid last week in Martin County Florida. The Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center is Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) latest innovation to launch Florida as the clean energy state. Working in conjunction with an existing natural gas power plant, the 190,000 solar thermal mirrors track and harness the sun’s rays via hydraulic motors. That energy is then converted into electricity and offsets the use of the natural gas. The natural gas plant then becomes a stored energy plant serving as a back-up energy source.

FPL- Solar Thermal Mirrors

FPL- Solar Thermal Mirrors

Sitting on 500 acres of FPL-owned land, the 75 megawatt facility will power 11,000 Florida homes and has already created over 1,000 jobs. According to FPL’s press release, the hybrid plant is expected to

reduce fossil fuel consumption by approximately 41 billion cubic feet of natural gas and more than 600,000 barrels of oil – which would prevent the release of more than 2.75 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and save FPL customers approximately $178 million in fuel costs over the facility’s estimated 30-year lifetime.

Though many solar thermal plants function as hybrids by burning oil at times of low sunlight, the Martin Energy Center is the first to combine a natural gas plant with solar thermal energy. It’s the last of 3 solar facilities built by FPL in the past 2 years, yet plans are underway to add another 500 megawatts of solar power to the state.

While the 75 megawatt system may seem small in comparison to the 3,800 megawatt gas plant, the environmental benefits are still quite significant. Florida is setting itself up to be a leader in using innovative technology and finding economic solutions in the effort to diversify energy sources and harness that abundant Florida sunshine. Oh, and in the event of one of those Florida hurricanes, the solar mirrors turn upside down for protection.

Via: Palm Beach Post

Comments

  1. John Thomas says

    Now this is a wonderful thing. I hope the next phase is to transition in a methane digester in order to capitalize on sewage and other organic products that can be used to create energy from renewable resources at a low cost. Reference Germany and India and how they have utilized the methane digester’s in order to provide electrical, heat and cooking energy.

      • DerekM says

        The article above states the panels turn upside down in a hurricane. The linked original also mentions the installation was wind-tested to 130 mph and the mirrors are made of tempered glass. Is it so surprising that someone might have thought this through?

  2. Edison Bondoc says

    Nice! By the way, I found out about a new training program for the federal government’s Home Energy Score Program. (see http://www.homeenergyscore.gov)

    You take a free course, then you take a second course to get certified to work as a Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor. (paid by grant money from the government)

    The site to take the course is http://www.spirittechs.com It also has more information about the process, and a free energy auditor course – all online.

  3. Jon B says

    Excuse me for the math question…If there are 1,000 jobs created, but the savings are $178MM in fuel costs over 30 years, that equates to $5,933 per job per year. How do they cover the rest of their new salaries?

  4. John ONeill says

    ‘While the 75 megawatt system may seem small in comparison to the 3,800 megawatt gas plant….’ hmmm she’s right, it does. The word ‘ greenwash’ springs unbidden to my lips. A couple of reactors could produce as much power as this ‘hybrid’ system and put a much bigger dint in the carbon dioxide output

    • DerekM says

      The gas plant was already there and you couldn’t build so much as half a reactor in the 2 years needed to build this field and one would cost several billion.

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