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Florida announces largest community solar programme in the US

If Florida Power & Light Company’s proposal is approved, the programme will more than double the amount of community solar currently in the US

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The programme will help to harness the power of the Florida sun like never before
The programme will help to harness the power of the Florida sun like never before

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is proposing a new community solar programme that would offer FPL customers the opportunity to directly participate in Florida’s transformation to a world leader in solar energy.

 

It has filed the proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC).

 

Accelerating cost-effective solar

 

Through the voluntary programme, participating customers will help accelerate the cost-effective growth of solar in Florida by subscribing to a portion of new solar power capacity. In return, they will receive credits that are expected to reduce their monthly bills over time.

 

"We’ve been aggressively expanding solar with one goal in mind: bringing more solar to all of our customers cost-effectively while continuing to keep their bills lower than 90 per cent of the country," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.

 

"This innovative programme is another major step forward in our ’30-by-30’ plan, which is one of the world’s largest solar expansions, and also an unprecedented opportunity for our customers to harness the power of the sun like never before."

 

FPL SolarTogether will significantly expand solar energy in Florida. Pending PSC approval, FPL plans to install 1,490 megawatts of new universal solar at 20 new solar power plants across FPL’s service territory to meet anticipated customer enrolment in the programme.

"FPL SolarTogether will allow individual customers to personally support Florida’s affordable, clean energy revolution while lowering their electric rates and bills over the long term"

Built cost-effectively, the new solar power plants attributed to the programme are projected to generate an estimated $139 million in net savings for customers over the long term, primarily from avoided fuel and other system savings.

Participating customers will receive direct credits for the savings on their monthly bills, and the programme is designed to also contribute a portion of the savings to all customers, which will help keep fuel costs low for everyone.

 

If approved, FPL SolarTogether will be the largest community solar programme in the US. According to the Solar Energy Industry of America’s latest information, a total of 1,298 megawatts of community solar has been installed in the US through the third quarter of last year.

 

"This programme will more than double the amount of community solar currently in the US," said Silagy. "More importantly, FPL SolarTogether will allow individual customers to personally support Florida’s affordable, clean energy revolution while lowering their electric rates and bills over the long term."

 

A next generation solar option

 

FPL studied community solar programmees offered throughout the country, including Florida. The result is a next generation solar option for customers that offers flexibility, convenience and is not subject to the confines of their location.

Programme participants will not be tied to a long-term contract and can terminate or reduce their subscription at any time. In addition, because the subscription is associated with a customer account and not a physical address, programme participants who move within FPL’s service area can maintain their subscription benefits.

 

FPL expects programme participants to achieve a simple payback on their subscription within seven years.

More than 200 of FPL’s largest energy users – including municipalities, large national retail chains, universities, banks, restaurants and schools – have committed to participate, providing the foundation for such a large programme.

"We’ve been aggressively expanding solar with one goal in mind: bringing more solar to all of our customers cost-effectively while continuing to keep their bills lower than 90 per cent of the country"

"Include Miami-Dade County among the advocates and early endorsers of FPL’s SolarTogether programme," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Giménez. "A ’Resilient 305’ means embracing sustainable and environmentally responsible options to promote the growth and utilisation of smart, affordable solar energy sources to secure power for Miami-Dade County facilities and allow residents and businesses to reap the benefits of zero emissions and cost savings."

 

Tom Barwin, the City Manager of City of Sarasota, said the programme will help it exceed its first renewable goal by 10 years while City of Coral Springs’ director of public works, Rich Michaud, said the programme gives the city an opportunity to share in the benefits and cost-savings of a large-scale solar programme while receiving monthly credits over the term of the project. "FPL SolarTogether meets the goal of sustainability for the City of Coral Springs,” he said.

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