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Largest Photovoltaic Solar Facility in the Nation Breaks Ground in Florida

Florida Power & Light Company announced the recent groundbreaking for FPL's DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which will bring commercial-scale solar photovoltaic power to Florida for the very first time.

At 25 megawatts, the plant will be the largest photovoltaic solar facility in the nation when it is complete at the end of 2009. The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center will use 90,000 photovoltaic panels on 180 acres of land and provide enough electricity to power more than 3,000 homes, which is nearly 20 percent of the population in DeSoto County.

"We're proud to be the company that is bringing commercial-scale solar power to the Sunshine State. Solar power will help promote a new clean-energy economy in Florida, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and address global climate change through the production of emissions-free energy," said FPL Group President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Robo.

Common on rooftops, solar photovoltaic is the technology most people envision when they think of solar energy. Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight directly into electricity, which can be fed onto the electrical grid without the need of a turbine generator. Technological advances are now making photovoltaic panels practical on a large scale.

The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center will use highly efficient SunPower panels and proven SunPower Tracker technology. The Tracker automatically follows the sun's movement throughout the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over fixed systems.

The facility will provide significant economic benefits to DeSoto County, creating more than 200 jobs during peak construction and providing more than $2 million in annual tax revenues by the end of 2010 to help boost the local economy.

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