Florida Power & Light Co. has announced growing support for FPL SolarTogether, a proposed new offering for FPL customers that would be the largest community solar program in the U.S., pending regulatory review.
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Vote Solar joined with FPL to refine the company’s program design to include a low-income component and request Florida Public Service Commission approval.
Other supporters of FPL SolarTogether include Sustainable Florida; Broward College; Florida Atlantic University; 7-Eleven; the counties of Brevard, Broward and Miami-Dade; and major cities such as Sarasota, Coral Springs and West Palm Beach. In addition, more than 90,000 residential and small-business customers have already signed up to receive more information.
“We continue to advance solar energy across Florida, and this program will help more of our customers directly participate in supporting solar than ever before,” says Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “Based on the substantial interest and support that we’ve received on this innovative, voluntary and affordable program from such a diverse array of customers, community partners, businesses, local governments and national clean energy advocacy groups, we’re confident that the time is right for this program.”
The planned installation of 1.49 GW of new universal solar capacity at 20 new solar power plants across FPL’s service territory would generate an estimated $249 million in net savings for all FPL customers over the long term, primarily from avoided fuel and other system savings, the utility says.
“With over 35 MW dedicated to low-income Florida families, FPL’s SolarTogether program now stands to be a true model for the rest of the country,” notes Katie Chiles Ottenweller, Southeast director of Vote Solar. “Solar is a critical tool to help Florida’s low-income families tap into energy savings. This program is an important first step to ensuring all Floridians have access to our state’s growing clean energy economy.”
“At this point, the biggest obstacle to moving this voluntary program forward is the Office of Public Counsel (OPC), who has forced an extensive delay in the regulatory process,” says Silagy. “It’s disappointing that public counsel is holding up a program that is voluntary, benefits all customers and has received such widespread support. Despite OPC opposition, FPL will work hard to gain approval for this program and remain committed to making Florida a world leader in solar generation and providing all our customers with the choice and opportunity to participate.”
The utility explains that FPL SolarTogether is designed to remove many of the financial burdens associated with private solar generating systems while also providing direct savings in the form of bill credits, making it an affordable option for any customer. Participants could also use the program to meet state and federal sustainability goals. FPL hopes to receive regulatory approval in time to launch during the first quarter of 2020.