FIU and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today unveiled a new commercial-scale solar installation at FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing – the only solar research facility of its kind that FPL has installed at a Florida university.
The 1.4-megawatt solar array is comprised of more than 4,400 solar panels on canopy-like structures that provide clean electricity to FPL’s grid and shade for about 400 parking spaces. The unique solar array incorporates a 24-foot by 12-foot FIU logo that is visible from high above.
Engineering faculty and students from the Energy, Power & Sustainability (EPS) program at FIU will use the installation to conduct important research that will help FPL advance solar energy in the state.
Through a five-year research grant, faculty and students are analyzing data from the on-site solar panels to understand the impacts of intermittent solar power on the electric grid in South Florida’s tropical climate. The researchers will also look at historic weather patterns and develop predictive models to forecast the reliability of solar power generation.
“This research project builds on our long-standing relationship with FPL,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “We’re engaging in groundbreaking, problem-solving research to address the challenges of our region and beyond. Our students will get hands-on experience and see how the research they conduct in the lab will have an impact in the real world – gaining skills that will help them compete for high tech 21st century jobs. This solar power facility is a win-win for FIU, FPL, and our community.”