MIAMI – A battery-mural the size of a building and capable of powering 7,000 homes or recharging 5 million cellphones is being installed in Wynwood, Miami’s art district, as part of a Florida Power & Light pilot program.
The facade of that new energy installation is covered by a mural by Cuban-American artist Ernesto Maranje that depicts the Florida panther and other native animals, ensuring it blends in with the many other colorfully decorated buildings in this neighborhood renowned for its world-class graffiti and street art.
The novelty of this new power-storage facility is its location in a densely populated area of constant growth, Florencia Olivera, a spokeswoman for FPL, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, told EFE.
She said the battery is being installed as a means of supplying the electricity needs of an additional 800 new customers in Wynwood over the next few months without the need for new power lines or large infrastructure projects.
According to Olivera, the mega-battery will serve as emergency back-up after outages and also supply additional electricity when demand is particularly high during events such as the Art-Basel international art fair, which takes place partly in Wynwood.
She said the battery will store power when demand is low and deliver electricity back to the grid when customers need it the most.
Maranje, for his part, said there has been growing collaboration in Miami between the muralist movement and the business sector, noting that companies gain greater visibility through these partnerships.
He added that in the specific case of FPL it is leveraging art to help raise awareness about alternative energy technologies.
“This mural is a representation of energy and how energy advances,” the artist said.
Olivera, for her part, said FPL’s 40 MWh battery began to be built in April of last year and will be inaugurated in the coming months.
This pilot program is being carried out by FPL, Florida’s largest electric utility, which sees battery storage as crucial to its objective of expanding the use of solar power and other alternative energies state-wide.
On Jan. 28, the company inaugurated the first floating solar array in Miami-Dade County, an installation with 402 panels and a 160 KW capacity that is located on a lake near the Miami International Airport.
That array was installed in just one week and will serve as a testing ground for future plans to use Miami-Dade County’s abundant lakes and lagoons for clean energy production.
FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy said during the inauguration that the company has set a target of having 30 million solar panels installed state-wide by 2030 and that the floating park is part of that so-called “30 by 30” plan.