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Plans underway for construction of worlds largest solar battery plant in USA

Source: 
Asharq Alawsat

Plans for the construction of worlds largest solar battery plant in Parrish, Florida in the USA are underway. The plans are being carried out by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) one of the nations cleanest energy companies. This project is one of the largest solar expansion plans by the company in the country.

Even as we aggressively implement our plan to install 30 million solar panels by 2030, we never lose sight of finding innovative ways to bring our customers the benefits of solar energy, even when the suns not shining. said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. Replacing a large, aging fossil fuel plant with a mega battery thats adjacent to a large solar plant is another world-first accomplishment, he added.

The future solar battery plant

The upcoming FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center will be constructed on a 40-acre space next to the 500-acre FPL solar power plant at a cost of approximately US$ 350m.

According to a FPL press release, the facility will have 409MW capacity; the equivalent of approximately 100 million iPhone batteries, when it begins operating in late 2021. With this capacity, the FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center will be four times the capacity of the current largest battery system in operation.

This facility will be charged by the existing FPL solar power plant in Manatee County which generates enough energy to power about 15,000 homes.

Expectations for the project

Upon completion, the FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center is expected to store enough energy to power approximately 329,000 homes for two straight hours.

Furthermore, by deploying energy from the batteries when there is higher demand for electricity, FPL will offset the need to run other power plants consequently reducing emissions and saving customers money through avoided fuel costs.

Discussions

John Lawler's picture
John Lawler on Oct 16, 2019 2:33 pm GMT

Lets do a reality check, I would like to know how they calculate these numbers. 40 Acres of batteries being charged by 500 acres of solar panels for 350 million dollars for 2 hours of capacity.

409 megawatts (equivalent to 409,000 kilowatts) to 329,000 homes. That makes 1.243 kilowatts per home. (US Energy estimates the average home in the US uses ~30 Kw per day) so what can you run with 1.2 Kw in Florida for 2 hours (which will gradually drift over those 2 hours) certainly not your air conditioning.

50″ LED Television: around 0.016 kWh per hour

Electric dishwashers: around 2 kWh per load

Most ovens are around 2.3 kWh per hour

Electric water heater: 380-500 kWh per month

Refrigerator (24 cu. ft frost free Energy Star): 54 kWh per month

Clothes Washer (warm wash, cold rinse): 2.3 kWh per load

Clothes Dryer: 2.5 – 4.0 kWh per load

Air Conditioner (3 ton 12 SEER): 3.0 kWh per hour

Nissan Leaf Electric Car – 40 kWh per full battery charge

Amazon Echo, Telling a Joke – 4 watts per joke (not sure how many hours you want to listen to that…)

In conclusion: It takes 40 acres of batteries being charged by 500 acres of solar panels for 350 million dollars for 2 hours of capacity to keep 329,000 refrigerators cold.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 16, 2019 9:29 pm GMT

Upon completion, the FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center is expected to store enough energy to power approximately 329,000 homes for two straight hours

I'll want to read more from them, but I'm seeing this as likely a play not to actually run the grid entirely on it for two hours, but rather somethign that's available to smooth out the energy curve, allow supply to meet demand, and enable generation shifting in a way that doesn't require building out of new fossil generation facilities. 

Michael Spindler's picture
Michael Spindler on Oct 18, 2019 10:40 pm GMT

Exactly. As far as what is needed, it's not a question of a complete substitute yet, no more than an emergency residental generator is. And you are not going to run everything on a generator he has listed in an outage either. It will be down to essentials, which should cover it for a few hours to an entire day, depending upon what you deem "essential."

John Lawler's picture
John Lawler on Oct 22, 2019 11:41 am GMT

Gentlemen

Of course you are both correct. The only way this project would be useful is to provide some other means of smoothening generation transition during different peaks of demand without building another fossil power asset. My comment was simply gaming how they spin the concept to their rate payers to achieve approval to spend the money. It can certainly be misleading at times. I used the concept of refrigeration as likely a high priority in Florida regarding the risk of power curtailments other than crirtical medical equipment used in the home.

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