Florida Legislature: Is state on verge of losing solar power initiatives?
In this excerpt from the Florida Pulse, reporters discuss legislation that could kill incentives for solar power in the state.
Rob Landers, Florida Today
PAXTON — Florida Power & Light can begin work on its second solar power generation facility in Walton County as soon as it provides a flood elevation study to the Walton County Planning Department, under terms of a unanimous Wednesday decision by the county’s Technical Review Committee.
The committee, comprising representatives of various county government departments and chaired by Walton County Planning Director Mac Carpenter, approved the development order for the Pecan Tree Solar Energy Center — set to be constructed on 762 acres southeast of Paxton off E.M. White Road in the north county — contingent on getting the flood elevation study in hand.
Background on the project: Walton commissioners approve settlement with Gulf Power for solar power facility
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Because the solar power generation facility is classified as a minor development, the TRC decision clears the way for the project to proceed.
At Wednesday’s meeting, FP&L engineer Brandon Eckard said a flood elevation study is underway, and he committed to keeping construction of the project above base flood elevation levels across the parcel.
The Pecan Tree Solar Energy Center will cover approximately half of a 1,600-acre parcel that, in turn, is part of a 4,500-acre assemblage of adjacent properties where FP&L plans to locate three more solar facilities.
The four projects will join an initial project already approved by the county, the Chautauqua Solar Energy Center on nearly 900 acres at Harrison Road and Brown Road, also southeast of Paxton and about 3 miles east of U.S. Highway 331.
The solar panel footprint at the Chautauqua site will cover almost 400 acres. Construction is underway, and the 74.5-megawatt facility is expected to come online sometime this year, an FP&L spokeswoman said recently. A facility of that size can power 15,000 homes annually, according to an online Florida Power & Light primer on solar energy.
Earlier: FPL pursuing second solar power facility in Walton County
The five FP&L solar projects are part of what began as a joint effort by FP&L and Gulf Power to install 30 million solar panels across Florida by 2030. FP&L and Gulf …….