In February, the Florida Power and Light Co. (FPL) and Daytona International Speedway (DIS) completed one of American professional sports’ largest solar-power installations.
The FPL Solar Circuit includes more than 7,000 solar panels that generate electricity for DIS’s operations and FPL’s 4.8 million customers. The system will prevent the emission of approximately 2,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, equivalent to an average-sized vehicle driving some 2 million laps in the Daytona Speedway, which is home to “The Great American Race,” the Daytona 500.
This project is one of three power plants FPL is installing in 2016. The projects will add more than 225 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity, tripling FPL’s current capacity and becoming one of Florida’s largest distributed-generation installations. The other planned systems will be installed at Florida International University and include other small community-based arrays.
The DIS solar-power system is built with three canopy structures covered with solar panels, located at the Midway, Sprint Fan Zone and a parking lot. The system can generate approximately 2.1 MW, which places the Speedway in the top five U.S. professional sports facilities with solar-energy installations, according to data from Solar Energy Industries Association.
The solar circuit includes high-tech data-gathering tools, which FPL will use in a multiyear research study to improve solar-energy and smart-grid technology integration.
FPL currently operates three solar-power plants and other smaller solar installations, totaling more than 110 MW of solar energy. FPL is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Inc., and NextEra Energy Resources is the official renewable-energy provider of DIS and Homestead-Miami Speedway.