With solar PV as the most popular renewable choice, customer-owned renewable generation increased 51% in 2017 in Florida, according to new electric utility reports filed with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC).
The commission says renewable system interconnections totaled 24,157 last year, as opposed to 15,994 interconnections in 2016.
“In 2008, after our net metering and interconnection rules were established, there were 577 customer-owned renewable systems in Florida,” says Art Graham, chairman of the PSC. “Since then, the continued annual growth – totaling 4,100 percent – is a testament to the effectiveness of the PSC’s strategy to ‘prime the pump’ for rooftop solar.”
Statewide, electric generation capacity from renewable energy systems increased 46% over 2016, reaching 204,755 kW, according to the PSC.
The PSC says its net metering rules promote development of customer-owned renewable generation that also lowers utility bills. When customers generate more energy than they use in a billing cycle, the excess energy is credited to their next bill to offset costs.
Further, Florida’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs) – Florida Power & Light Co., Duke Energy Florida LLC, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power Co., and Florida Public Utilities Co. – are required by the PSC to offer an expedited interconnection agreement process.
The commission explains that municipal electric utility and rural electric cooperative customers also have renewable generation incentives. Every Florida municipal and cooperative that sells electricity at retail is required, by statute, to provide a standardized interconnection agreement and net metering program for customer-owned renewable generation systems.
However, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the state’s solar policies still “lag behind many other states in the nation,” seeing as Florida does not have a renewable portfolio standard and does not allow power purchase agreements, SEIA says.
According to the PSC, Florida’s utilities reported the following information on customer-owned renewable generation for 2013-2017: