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Florida Community Solar Programs Expand

In March 2020, Florida Power and Light launched SolarTogether, the most extensive community solar program in the United States. Last month, Duke Energy filed its community solar program, Shared Solar. Both Florida community solar programs will save participating Florida homeowners and small businesses on their utility bills while encouraging the further expansion of solar in the Sunshine State.

What is a Community Solar Program

A community solar program allows a community to pull its resources together to fund a community solar project. Any community member can purchase shares into the project, which results in a monthly credit on their utility bill for the energy produced by their shares. The whole community benefits from the cleaner, cheaper energy, and the project backers gain the additional benefit of their subsidized utility bill. You can learn more about community solar programs here.

Florida Power and Light’s Community Solar Program

Florida Power and Light is adding 1,490 megawatts of solar energy across 20 new solar plants. They anticipate that project backers will save a combined total of $139 Million in net savings. Most of that savings will come from reduced fuel and other system costs, and the backers will see the savings as credits on the monthly utility bill. Florida Power and Light also designed their community solar program to contribute a portion of the savings to all community members, lowering fuel and other systems costs for everyone. 

This community solar program is the largest community solar program in the United States. The Solar Industry of America notes that all solar community programs across the United States have installed 1,298 megawatts. Florida Power and Light’s community solar plan will install 1,490 alone, doubling all community solar programs’ total contribution in the nation. All of that solar coming to Florida is great news for Florida.

Florida Power and Light did their research on all of the community solar programs in the United States. The outcome is a solar community program that provides freedom, flexibility, and convenience for participants. No contracts will bind the participants to the program. Participants can raise or lower their share contributions at any time. Florida Power and Light will not require participants to remain in their service area to contribute. Participants outside of the service area will receive their compensation by check instead of as a utility credit. Anyone from anywhere can contribute to Florida’s solar success. Power and Light also announced that they plan to retire Renewable Energy Certificates for those who aspire for a more sustainable future.

Florida Power and Light has worked with several of the most significant energy users in the Florida area to gather data on the SolarTogether program’s interest. The community’s response has been overwhelming. More than 200 of the most prominent Florida Power and Light energy users have committed to participate in the community solar program. These users include municipalities, retails chains, universities, restaurants, banks, and schools.

Duke Energy’s Community Solar Program

Duke Energy’s community solar program, SolarShare, will provide Florida homeowners and small businesses 750 megawatts of cost-efficient solar power. Duke Energy’s goal is to put $1 Billion into Florida’s solar growth by building three new solar plants within the next five years. Those plants will not only lower the cost of solar for Florida homeowners and small businesses, but the three plants will also create hundreds of Florida jobs.

Participants in Duke Energy’s community solar program purchase shares in kilowatt blocks. Duke Energy reduces the customer’s monthly utility bill based on the number of kilowatt shares the participant owns. The purchase price for a kilowatt share is a fixed $8.35/share. A participant whose average energy usage is 1,000Kw/mo would need to purchase five shares to cover their usage cost fully. Duke Energy plans to start the incentive at four cents per KW/h for 36 months, increasing the incentive by 1.5% annually after that. For a household that uses an average of 1,000Kw/mo, the program will break even in five years and return a continuous profit within seven.

Duke Energy put aside 26 kilowatts for lower-income residential participants. Lower-income residents will still pay $8.35/KW, but they will receive a $9.03/KW credit each month, which is a 68 cents per kilowatt savings for the lower- residential participants. Duke Energy will allow any participant to dynamically purchase enough shares each month to offset their full utility bill. Duke Energy has set up the community solar program to pay itself off in seven years, with participants seeing a net profitable ROI within 3-5 years.

Keep Up With Florida Solar With Region Solar

As Florida continues to change and adapt to the solar space with things like community solar programs, Region Solar will continue to stay on top of the latest solar trends. Region Solar has been serving the Sarasota area since 2007, and Region Solar always has your back. 

There has never been a better time to make the switch to solar, as Florida ranks in the top 10 nationally for solar. Get in touch with a Region Solar specialist today to learn more about how you can get started with solar today.

Sources

Author, ByGuest. “George Riley: Community Solar Brings Clean Energy to Florida Families, Businesses.” Florida Politics – Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government., 9 Sept. 2020, floridapolitics.com/archives/365864-george-riley-community-solar-brings-clean-energy-to-florida-families-businesses.

COLUMN, George Riley
GUEST. “Encourage Greater Adoption of Community Solar.” Chronicle Online, 6 Sept. 2020, www.chronicleonline.com/opinion/columnists/encourage-greater-adoption-of-community-solar/article_33726f7e-eedc-11ea-98b5-5b82b30f5a15.html.

“Community Solar in Florida.” Solar United Neighbors, 22 Dec. 2017, www.solarunitedneighbors.org/florida/learn-the-issues-in-florida/community-solar-in-florida/.

“Energy My Way: SolarTogether.” FPL, www.fpl.com/energy-my-way/solar/solartogether-res.html.

Energy, Duke. “Duke Energy Florida Proposes New Program Providing Solar Access to Customers While Lowering Bills over Time.” Duke Energy | News Center, news.duke-energy.com/releases/duke-energy-florida-proposes-new-program-providing-solar-access-to-customers-while-lowering-bills-over-time#:~:text=Duke Energy plans to invest,want – affordable clean energy options.

“FPL Newsroom.” Florida Power & Light Company (FPL): FPL Newsroom, newsroom.fpl.com/2019-03-13-FPL-announces-plans-for-the-largest-community-solar-program-in-the-U-S.

Gheorghiu, Iulia. “Florida Signs off on FPL’s 1.5 GW Community Solar Program, despite Lack of Competition.” Utility Dive, 4 Mar. 2020, www.utilitydive.com/news/florida-signs-off-on-fpls-15-gw-community-solar-program-despite-lack-of-c/573428/.

Keating, Cecilia. “Florida Approves ‘Largest’ Community Solar Project in US.” PV Tech, PV-Tech, 4 Mar. 2020, www.pv-tech.org/news/florida-approves-largest-community-solar-project-in-us#:~:text=Florida Power & Light Company (FPL,or US$1,176 per kW.

Merchant, Emma Foehringer. “Community Solar Comes to the Sunshine State in a Big Way, Finally.” Greentech Media, Greentech Media, 28 Oct. 2019, www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/community-solar-comes-to-the-sunshine-state-finally.

“Shared Solar – Duke Energy Florida.” Duke Energy, www.duke-energy.com/home/products/renewable-energy/fl-shared-solar.

Florida Power and Light Prioritizing Solar With “SolarTogether”

Florida Power and Light Prioritizing Solar With “SolarTogether”

The SolarTogether program is a program offered by the utility company, Florida Power and Light (FPL). SolarTogether creates opportunities for solar investment in large scale installations. In March, the Florida Public Service Committee agreed to allow FPL’s plan to move forward, allowing FPL to break ground on its $1.8 billion investment in 20 additional solar-power plants. FPL hopes to add 1,490 megawatts of solar capacity. The program is a significant win for solar advocacy groups, and the program will drastically increase solar-power accessibility in Florida.

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