Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Florida Power & Light seeks fifth solar energy center in Myakka

With 200,000 solar panels , the facility would power 15,000 homes annually in Manatee County.

The Sambucus Solar Center will use tracker panels like these at the FPL Echo River Solar Energy Center in Wellborn, Florida.
The Sambucus Solar Center will use tracker panels like these at the FPL Echo River Solar Energy Center in Wellborn, Florida.
  • East County
  • News
  • Share

Florida Power & Light, the state's largest power utility, is seeking permits to build a fifth photovoltaic solar energy center in the Myakka City area.

If those permits are granted, the Sambucus Solar Energy Center will be located directly west of the Willow Solar Energy Center, on a little more than 600 acres of land bordering Wauchula Road.

FPL spokesperson Jack Eble said the center is at a very early point in the development process and will be similar “in a number of respects” to the ones currently operating in Manatee County.

The center will offer 74.5 megawatts of clean energy, will power 15,000 homes annually and will feature more than 200,000 solar panels. Eble said solar centers like this help to reduce electricity costs for FPL's customers.

He said it would be difficult to quantify a specific amount savings for customers, though the company estimates its current solar buildout has saved its customers $400 million since its first solar energy center came online.

“Universal centers are the most cost-effective way to provide the benefit of solar energy to all of our customers across the state of Florida,” Eble said. “That's fewer fuel costs that we're incurring, and so there's a zero-emission source of energy that benefits our customers in providing clean, reliable and also affordable electricity.”

Eble said the Myakka City area matches the company’s preferences for its solar energy centers in that it is flat, zoned for agricultural use and near existing FPL infrastructure. He said landowners in the area will nonetheless be notified of the development.

He said that the visual impact of the center will be minimal, as the area’s FPL infrastructure will continue to coexist with the wildlife and the surrounding community, with very little traffic moving in and out of the center, and with no noise created by the machinery.

“We like to say that solar centers are very good neighbors,” he said.

As with the other solar energy centers in Manatee County, except for the Manatee Solar Energy Center in Parrish, the Sambucus Solar Energy Center will use tracker panels, a technology that allows for more absorption of the sun’s rays, as the panels slowly rotate to follow the path of the sun throughout the day.

Eble said that the company’s solar energy centers support its SolarTogether program.

The nation’s largest community solar program, SolarTogether is designed for customers who wish to utilize the environmental benefits of solar energy, despite being unable to install panels of their own, as a result of being housed in an apartment or having obstacles to installation on their homes. The program is available to business owners as well.

SolarTogether allows customers to set their sustainability goal by choosing to make up to 45% of their energy usage solar. The program provides customers with bill credits that reduce the cost of the subscription.

As proof of the use of solar energy, the program issues Renewable Energy Certificates to customers. These certificates are the legal means for substantiating renewable energy use claims in the U.S.

Eble said that due to the program’s popularity, all its capacity is currently claimed. However, such sites as Sambuchus, along with 24 others in Florida approved last year by the Florida Public Service Commission — will help to extend the program.

“I think it's a true testament to the program, the amount of interest we've received so far,” said Eble.

Eble said that by the end of 2025, the company aims to install 30 million solar panels. “That's going to be approximately $2.5 billion of savings on fossil fuel costs,” he said.

Also in permitting in Manatee County is the Three Creeks Solar Energy Center in Parrish. Located south of the Elder Branch Solar Energy Center, which came online at the end of January, it will also use tracking panel technology, as well as support the SolarTogether program.

“We know the financial and environmental benefits that solar offers to our customers and communities around the state,” Eble said. “We're going to continue to invest in solar energy centers on behalf of our customers.”


Latest News