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Kennedy Space Center, Fla., April 8, 2010 — Officials from NASA joined Florida Power and Light Company to commission FPL’s Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center.
The new solar photovoltaic (PV) power facility is the result of a public-private partnership between NASA and FPL and demonstrates both organizations’ commitment to bringing clean-energy solutions to the state.
FPL‘s Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center is located on NASA property at Kennedy Space Center and is producing an estimated 10 MW of clean, emissions-free power, which is enough energy to serve about 1,100 homes.
“NASA is a pioneer in the use of solar power for space exploration, so it’s fitting that we’re working with FPL to expand the use and R&D of that renewable energy source at Kennedy Space Center where many of those missions were launched,” said Robert Cabana, director of the Kennedy Space Center. “This type of commercial partnership with NASA helps provide Florida residents, and America’s space program, with new sources of “Ëœgreen power’ that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and improve the environment.”
FPL’s Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 227,000 tons over the life of the project, which according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is equivalent to removing 1,800 cars from the road each year. It will also save about 122,000 barrels of oil and 2.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas over its lifetime.
“Florida is poised to be a leader in America’s growing clean-energy economy, which naturally includes solar power,” said Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, whose district includes the Kennedy Space Center. “Bringing new clean-energy jobs to our communities is one of my top priorities. This joint effort between NASA and FPL is an example of how we can create jobs while investing in common-sense solutions to the economic, environmental and national security challenges we face today.”
The facility features about 35,000 solar PV panels from SunPower Corp., a maker of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, across 60 acres at Kennedy Space Center.
The SunPower panels allow FPL to generate 50 percent more power at the Space Coast facility than a comparably sized project using conventional solar panels.
Florida Power and Light Company is the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the U.S. FPL serves about 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida and has 10,500 employees.