Florida Power & Light said Wednesday it will install 30 million solar panels by 2030, achieving “the largest installation of solar panels by a regulated utility in the world.”
The “30 by 30” goal would entail a major escalation of the regulated utility’s solar capacity. It has developed roughly 1,000 megawatts over the last few years. The utility’s deregulated sister company, NextEra Energy Resources, has already proven itself a global leader in renewables development.
The commitment provides another data point in the national trend of regulated utilities embracing solar power at scale, said Colin Smith, a senior analyst tracking utility-scale solar at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of utilities crossing the 1-gigawatt threshold of planned capacity,” he said. “We’re now seeing whole utilities plan significant percentages of their entire generation portfolio to come from solar.”
The framing of Florida Power&Light’s goal appeared targeted at people who don’t work with solar power. Practitioners typically describe solar projects in hard capacity numbers, rather than the functionally vague panel count. Different panels have different capacity ratings, and these are likely to change over the coming decade as technology improves, making it hard to pin down how much power 30 million panels will actually deliver.
Taking the rough estimate of 350 watts per panel, which anticipates some capacity improvement in coming years, Florida Power&Light’s target would amount to 10,500 Megawatts, roughly five times more than the total installed capacity of Florida today.