Florida is getting a new solar microgrid community

Entertainment

The city of Lakeland, Florida, has approved 77 homes featuring solar and storage that will be linked together to form a community microgrid.

The $4.2 million pilot project, which is being developed by utility Lakeland Electric, microgrid developer BlockEnergy, and housing developer Highland Homes, will be called Myrtlebrook. Each of the 77 new homes will feature an 8 kW rooftop solar array, and a 43 kWh battery will link pairs of houses. There will also be a central battery storage unit for the whole neighborhood. The solar and energy storage devices will together form a microgrid that’s expected to be 77% self-sufficient.

Lakeland Electric, which is funding the project, will be the owner-operator of Myrtlebrook’s solar and storage, and it will benefit from excess power fed back into the grid. It’s expected to save $1.1 million in costs.

Michael Dammer, manager of emerging technology at Lakeland Electric, said [via a local ABC News affiliate], “Because the generation happens right in the neighborhood, we are less susceptible to grid outages, which means our customers are less likely to see a blackout due to storms or squirrels or any sort of outside car versus pole type of situation.”

Block Energy plans to break ground on the Florida solar microgrid community next year, with Highland Homes beginning construction in 2025. The community is expected to be finished in late 2025 or early 2026.

Read more: DeSantis vetoed $377M in free energy-efficiency money despite extreme Florida heat

Photo: BlockEnergy


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