Florida Power & Light has announced plans to build the world’s largest solar-powered battery system— four times the capacity of the largest battery system currently in operation—with a planned completion of late-2021 in Manatee County.

Florida Power & Light, owned by NextEra Energy, is building a 409-megawatt energy storage project called Manatee Energy Storage Center that will distribute 900-megawatt hours of electricity. That is enough to provide power to 329,000 homes for two hours, the company said.

Charged by an existing, co-located FPL solar power plant, the planned battery storage center will increase the predictability of solar - extending its benefits even when the sun is not shining.

The capacity is the equivalent of 100 million IPhone batteries and the project is expected to save customers $100 million in energy costs and more than one million tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be eliminated, according to an FPL release.

"This is a monumental milestone in realizing the full benefits of solar power and yet another example of how FPL is working hard to position Florida as the global gold standard for clean energy," said president and CEO of FPL Eric Silagy. "Even as we aggressively execute on our plan to install 30 million solar panels by 2030, we never lose sight of finding innovative ways to bring our customers the benefits of solar energy, even when the sun's not shining.

“Replacing a large, aging fossil fuel plant with a mega battery that's adjacent to a large solar plant is another world-first accomplishment and while I'm very pleased of that fact, what I'm most proud of is that our team remained committed to developing this clean energy breakthrough while saving customers money and keeping their bills among the lowest in the nation."

The Manatee Storage Center will speed up the closure of two 1970s-era fossil fuel generation units at FPL’s neighboring power plant in southwest Florida. Replacing the two gas-fired plants with solar arrays, battery installations and upgrades to combustion turbines at other plants will represent a major savings for consumers.

"FPL is pioneering a clean energy revolution for our state that's come full circle for our community," said Stephen Jonsson, who is chairman of the board of County Commissioners in Manatee County. "It seems like just yesterday that FPL kicked off its massive solar expansion in 2016 by opening a solar power plant in Parrish. Fast forward a few years, and our hometown solar power plant is on the verge of powering the world's largest solar-powered battery system.

“This modernization plan is truly an incredible feat and consistent with our commitment as leaders to keep sustainability at the forefront of every project that takes place in Manatee County. It's why we continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with FPL to help do our part to shape Florida's clean energy future."