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  • | 11:00 a.m. September 25, 2015
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Florida Power & Light plans two Gulf Coast regional solar centers

Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) says it is on track to have three new large-scale solar energy centers, including two along the Gulf Coast, completed by the end of 2016. The three new plants are the FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center in Charlotte County, the FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center in Manatee County and the FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center in DeSoto County. Each of the plants is designed to generate about 74 megawatts of energy.

FPL received land for the new FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center as a donation from the Babcock Ranch development. It also stands to collect county tax incentives and a portion of franchise fees from the Babcock Ranch Independent Special District.

The FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center is being built on a 762-acre site next to the company's natural gas-powered Manatee Power Plant. It expects to receive tax incentives from the county for that project.
The three plants are expected to triple FPL's current solar capacity.

Black & Veatch was chosen to design and build the three plants. It is scheduled to start construction later this year.

Federal government awards contract to expressway for connected vehicle program
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded a $17 million contract to the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority. This award will be used, in conjunction with other local agencies and private sector stakeholders, for a connected vehicle pilot program. The Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority pilot program will outfit cars, buses and roadside equipment with technology so that they can communicate with each other about various traffic conditions.

“Tampa will be among the first cities in the nation to use the latest technology to make it safer and easier to drive,” U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, says in a press release.

Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority Executive Director Joe Waggoner believes the authority won the national award because of its efforts between the public and private sector and the ideal setting for the trial offered by the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and Meridian Avenue.

Heritage Insurance board approves $20 million share buyback
The board of directors of Heritage Insurance Holdings Inc. (symbol: HRTG; recent price: $19.53), a Clearwater-based property and casualty insurance holding company, agreed to buy back up to $20 million worth of common stock through Dec. 31, 2016.

Heritage expects to fund the purchases from cash on hand and future cash flow from operations.

Car Lister partners with eLEND integrating financing services
Naples-based DreamWare Inc. announced a new agreement to integrate eLEND Solutions' online credit application product into Car Lister, its automotive marketplace web application. The partnership will provide Car Lister's network of auto dealers and buyers access to eLEND Solutions suite of credit, identification and finance offers.

Once they've found a car, buyers will now be able to complete the entire pre-approval process through the Car Lister app, choosing their loan, payment options, term and placing a down payment to hold the vehicle.

Georgia agency files notice to offer Medicaid contract to WellCare
The Georgia Department of Community Health has filed a notice of intent to award a contract to WellCare Health Plans Inc. (symbol: WCG; recent price: $98.51) for the Tampa-based company to continue providing services to Medicaid recipients in Georgia. WellCare and three other companies received the notices as part of a bidding process to provide managed care through the Georgia Families and PeachCare for Kids programs.

Services under the new contract are expected to begin on July 1, 2016.

As of June 30, WellCare served about 594,000 Georgia Families and PeachCare for Kids members, 33,500 Medicare Advantage members and 23,500 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Georgia.

Chicago restaurant expanding, first Florida location at Bay Street
The downtown Chicago restaurant Doc B's Fresh Kitchen announced its first out of state expansion will be at International Plaza's Bay Street. The new location is scheduled to open in November. The Tampa full-service restaurant, which is currently being constructed, will feature a 4,200-square-foot interior with a 700-square-foot patio. It will be the largest Doc B's Fresh Kitchen built to-date.

The Tampa location will also be the first Florida restaurant to serve Chicago-based Bow Truss' coffee and espresso products.

World of Beer opens first Manhattan tavern
Tampa-based World of Beer has opened its first location in New York City.

This marks the franchise's fourth tavern in New York state. It has opened 14 taverns this year and expects to open 12 more by the end of the year.

World of Beer Chelsea has more than 5,000 square feet of space and a 1,200-square-foot indoor patio.

Since opening its first location in Tampa in 2007, World of Beer has grown to 71 locations in 19 states across the United States.

It has signed more than 16 franchise agreements so far this year.


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