Florida municipal utilities expand large-scale solar project

Florida Municipal Solar Project
Representatives of member utilities of the Florida Municipal Power Agency and Origis Energy gather to celebrate one of the largest municipal-backed solar projects in the nation.

The Florida Municipal Solar Project is getting a major expansion, quadrupling the amount of solar power currently generated by the project. Developed by the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA), in conjunction with 20 Florida municipal electric utilities and Origis Energy, the project is one of the largest municipal-backed solar initiatives in the United States.

The project currently consists of two solar farms — Taylor Creek Solar in Orange County and Harmony Solar in Osceola County — which generate nearly 150 MW of solar power. The expansion will be done in two phases, adding more than 700 MW of solar energy to the overall project.

Phase 2 will include the addition of two more solar farms, Rice Creek Solar in Putnam County and Whistling Duck Solar in Levy County. It is anticipated that Rice Creek Solar will be completed by the end of this year and Whistling Duck Solar is projected for completion in 2024. When both new sites are online, they will generate nearly 150 MW of solar energy.

Phase 3 of the project will bring another four solar farms online, which will double the size of the project from four to eight sites that will generate nearly 600 MW of solar power — four times what the project currently generates. Construction and operation of these four additional sites, which will be located in Columbia, Levy and Bradford counties, will be staggered throughout 2025 and 2026.

By the end of 2026, the Florida Municipal Solar Project will consist of more than 1.8 million solar panels installed on eight farms.

“By partnering with our municipal electric utilities members and Origis Energy, we are able to take advantage of a great opportunity to increase the volume of our low-cost, reliable solar generation at a time when solar costs have been escalating,” said Jacob Williams, general manager and CEO of FMPA. “Expanding the Florida Municipal Solar Project will also enable us to serve several new communities that haven’t had access to solar before.”

The large-scale solar project enables participants to provide solar energy to customers in the most cost-effective way. The cost of solar power from the project is approximately one-third the cost of a typical private, rooftop solar system.

“What is unique about working with FMPA is the opportunity to work with a large group of cities across Florida that all have a passion to bring clean energy solutions to their communities, to their homes, while not sacrificing reliability or cost,” said Tanya Sessions, VP of business development for Origis Energy.

A total of 20 Florida municipal electric utilities will purchase power from the project: Beaches Energy Services (Jacksonville Beach), Bushnell, Clewiston, Fort Meade, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, Green Cove Springs, Havana, Homestead, JEA (Jacksonville), Keys Energy Services (Key West), Kissimmee Utility Authority, Lake Worth Beach, Leesburg, Mount Dora, New Smyrna Beach, Newberry, Ocala, Orlando Utilities Commission, Starke, and Winter Park. These cities are member-owners of FMPA along with 13 other municipal utilities.

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