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Energy giant collaborate on solar innovations

In a partnership that seems fitting for the Sunshine State, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter are teaming with solar energy experts at NextEra Energy and its subsidiary, Florida Power & Light Co., to take solar technology to the next level.

NextEra and FPL, headquartered in Juno Beach, have a rooftop "living lab," which tests photo voltaic solar panels, but it has maxed out its space. Six miles to the north, Scripps plans to create a similar lab at its Jupiter campus.

Buck Martinez, FPL's senior director of development, said Scripps is beginning work on that technology seeking the "holy grail" of solar energy: a way to capture sunlight and solar energy and store it.

"That would be a game changer. The ability to store solar energy at a commercially cost-effective price would be phenomenal," Martinez said.

FPL owns and operates three solar plants and cannot increase its solar presence in Florida without action by the Florida Legislature. The Florida Public Service Commission must approve the least expensive type of electric power plant to construct, and solar is not the cheapest to build. However, it's cheaper to produce and reduces fossil fuel use.






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