Leases Land For Solar Power Generating Station
NASA and the Florida's largest electric utility, Florida Power
& Light, signed an agreement June 24 at Florida
Governor Charlie Crist's global climate change summit in Miami, to
provide residents with a new source of so-called "green power." The
agreement is part of a new initiative that will cut reliance on
fossil fuels and improve the environment by reducing greenhouse gas
The agreement will permit FPL to lease 60 acres of NASA Kennedy
Space Center's approximately 140,000 acres for a solar photovoltaic
power generation system. The facility will produce an estimated 10
megawatts of electrical power, which is enough energy to serve
roughly 3,000 homes. The solar power facility will be built and
maintained by FPL.
As part of the agreement, FPL will build a separate one megawatt
solar power facility at Kennedy (a test facility at NASA's Dryden
Research Center is shown above) that will support the electrical
needs of the center. It will also help NASA meet its goals for use
of power generated from renewable energy. In addition to generating
electricity, the facility will provide an opportunity for NASA
engineers and technicians to gain experience in energy production.
It also may serve as a test bed for solar power technology that
could be used on the surface of the moon and other planetary
"This is a major renewable energy project that will help both
NASA and the state of Florida advance efforts to reduce our
dependence on fossil fuels and improve our environment through use
of clean energy," said Kennedy Center Director Bill Parsons.
FPL refers to the large solar plant at Kennedy as the "space
coast facility." The company estimates the plant will prevent more
than 227,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the
atmosphere during the life of the project. According to the
Environmental Protection Agency, that is the equivalent of
eliminating the emissions from more than 1,800 cars every year.
"This facility, the first cooperative solar effort with NASA,
will help power the space coast event as it leaves a smaller carbon
footprint here on Earth," said FPL Group CEO Lewis Hay III.
NASA and FPL managers signed a memorandum of understanding in
December 2007 to explore developing renewable energy projects.
Other concepts under consideration include using biomass for energy
production and wind power generation. Details of the projects under
consideration still are being formulated and will be evaluated
before moving into development.