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  • 18 megawatts of battery storage at Lake Placid Solar Power Plant.
  • 8.25 megawatts of storage in Alachua County to enhance power quality.
  • 3.5-megawatt microgrid of solar-plus-storage at John Hopkins Middle School, a special needs emergency shelter in Pinellas County.

Florida — Duke Energy plans to add three battery energy storage sites and nearly 30 megawatts to enhance power quality, reliability and critical services during outages, the company announced Tuesday.

The battery storage sites will be located at Duke Energy’s Lake Placid Solar Power Plant in Highlands County, John Hopkins Middle School in Pinellas County, and southwest of Gainesville in Alachua County. The sites will play an important role in supporting public safety during significant weather events, as well as addressing overall electric grid efficiency and reliability.

“Batteries are an exciting technology that allows us to bring more renewables onto the grid and support resiliency in our communities,” said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida state president. “These projects help us determine the best uses so that when battery storage technology becomes even more cost-competitive, as it is projected to do, we can deploy them quickly for the benefit of our customers.”

The versatility of battery storage technology allows Duke Energy, as the grid manager and operator, to maximize benefits to customers and the grid.

– An 18-megawatt lithium battery site will be built at the company’s 45-megawatt Lake Placid Solar Power Plant, which came online in December 2019. The addition of battery energy storage to the utility-scale solar plant will be the first of its kind for Duke Energy Florida. It will allow solar energy to be dispatchable for Duke Energy Florida grid operators and improve overall plant efficiency.
– An 8.25-megawatt Micanopy lithium battery site will be located 15 miles southwest of Gainesville in Alachua County. The battery storage site provides a cost-effective solution for focused power quality and reliability for the town of Micanopy and nearby neighbors.
– A 3.5-megawatt solar plus storage microgrid site will be added at Pinellas County’s John Hopkins Middle School. The microgrid will support grid operations and provide backup electric power to the school when it must operate as a special need’s hurricane evacuation shelter. The microgrid consists of a 1-megawatt solar parking canopy array and a 2.5-megawatt battery and controls, which will store and deploy clean, renewable energy to the school and grid. The project enhances electric service and grid operations for customers.

“Duke Energy’s new battery energy storage project will provide students at John Hopkins Middle School with a real-life lesson about solar energy and the need to protect our environment by seeking alternative methods of generating electricity,” said Clint Herbic, associate superintendent of operational services for Pinellas County Schools. “It also will be a critical addition for our county’s residents, as the school also serves as a Special Needs Hurricane Shelter.”

Duke Energy Florida’s continued investment in battery energy storage reflects the company’s belief that energy storage plays a significant and evolving role in how energy is delivered to customers now and in the future. Through energy storage and microgrids, the utility can enable the integration of more renewables onto the grid and help improve reliability and security while keeping costs affordable for customers.

The battery sites will serve customer electric needs, increase energy security, and complement other electric resources on the grid. All three sites are on track to be completed by the end of 2021. Along with three other battery storage installations announced last year in Gulf, Columbia, and Gilchrist counties, these sites will fulfill Duke Energy Florida’s pledge to customers to add 50 megawatts of battery storage by 2022.

Additional renewables projects

As part of Duke Energy Florida’s commitment to renewables, the company is investing an estimated $1 billion to construct or acquire a total of 700 megawatts of cost-effective solar power facilities and 50 megawatts of battery storage through 2022.

Duke Energy is leading the industry in how battery technology is used on the grid. In 2018, the company and University of South Florida St. Petersburg unveiled a 250-kilowatt Tesla battery that is connected to a 100-kilowatt solar array and electric vehicle charging stations – the first of its kind in Florida.

This solar-battery microgrid system manages the energy captured by the solar array, situated on top of the university’s parking garage. The solar array plus storage was completed through a $1 million grant from Duke Energy. The microgrid provides a backup power source during an outage for the parking garage elevator, lights, and the electric vehicle charging stations. Click here to learn more.

In addition to expanding its battery storage technology and solar investments, Duke Energy Florida is investing in transportation electrification to support the growing U.S. adoption of electric vehicles. The company also is investing in 530 electric vehicle charging stations and a modernized power grid to deliver the diverse and reliable energy solutions customers want and need.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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