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The Redland’s Newest Farm

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Posted: Friday, October 26, 2018 12:15 am | Updated: 9:48 am, Fri Oct 26, 2018.

FPL’s Miami-Dade Solar Energy Center is being built along Krome Ave.

While Krome Avenue expansion and renovation continues, it has developed into an even more robust kind of scenic route through the Redland. With Florida Power and Light’s newest development on it, Krome Avenue’s future looks even brighter: literally!

Last Thursday morning, FPL hosted a construction tour of their Solar Energy Center, located on the corner of Krome and SW 136th Street.

Amidst the dirt and grass rows of steel racking, pile-driving, and solar panel installing being done throughout the 465 acre space, Project Manager Derek Erley explained the enormity of the location and what it will provide to its customers.

“The site is just under 400 acres of glass...300,000 panels,” Erley said, “it’s enough energy for up 15,000 homes.”

This clean energy project is part of FPL’s desire to install 1 million solar panels, over the next few years, in Miami-Dade County. As such, while this is their 14th solar site in Florida, it is FPL’s first one located in Miami-Dade County. Partnering with environmental groups such as Florida Audubon Society, FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy aims to make this location ecologically sound also.

“When this site is done, we’ll actually create a whole environment around this site...we’ll have plantings of particular types of grasses and flowers that will attract butterflies, bees, [and] different birds.” said Silagy. “A nice way to actually incorporate with the environment and enhance the local environment.”

Additionally, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez explained that energy centers like this one will now make the county’s energy profile 30 percent cleaner than the national average -- with more sites being reviewed.

“This is the first of several large solar plants being built throughout our county, with smaller solar arrays that will bring innovative solutions to all parts of our community,” Gimenez said.

Gimenez also stressed the additional local impact of this renewable energy site.

“This plant will actually be a solar sanctuary,” said Gimenez. “That means the innovative design includes specific environmental enhancements to make this center a safe haven for birds, bees, and bats; the much needed but often sadly neglected pollinators of our favorite foods, vegetables, and flowers: many of which are grown in this area.”

Once construction has been finished in early 2019, the unmanned site will reduce enough emissions to equal having 12,000 cars no longer on the road.

Now when driving down Krome Avenue, across those new lanes, and past the numerous nurseries, farms, and restaurants, a different kind of farm will dot the landscape, a solar farm: powering South Florida into a greener, more environmentally safe future.

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