Florida Power & Light Co. signed a partnership with Florida International University to install more than 5,700 solar panels on its engineering center in west Miami-Dade County.
The company, a subsidiary of Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE), plans to build 23 canopy-like structures this summer in the parking lot. Not only would the 1.6-megawatt solar array generate power for FPL customers, FIU students could study its performance in the electrical grid.
“This innovative solar project builds on FIU’s relationship with FPL, one that provides our students with unparalleled and unique training opportunities,” FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said in a news release. “Through this project, our engineering students will make a direct contribution to the growth of solar energy in our state, while gaining invaluable experience working side by side with professionals from one of the most forward-thinking utilities in the nation.”
The solar array would measure 342,000 square feet and would also shade 600 parking spaces. FPL aims to triple its solar generation in Florida by the end of 2016.
“As the economics of solar continue to improve, we look forward to harnessing more and more energy from the sun,” FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy said in a news release. “Our partnership with FIU is designed to help us manage solar power’s interaction with the greater electric grid as part of our commitment to reliably deliver affordable clean energy for all of our customers.”
In the meantime, FPL is among the main opponents of a ballot initiative to amend the Florida constitution to allow consumers to install solar panels on their properties and sell power. Laws preventing such arrangements have limited the growth of solar panel leasing companies in Florida.