Florida Power & Light Co. has filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) for a new community solar program.
FPL’s SolarTogether initiative would significantly expand solar energy in Florida, the utility says. Pending PSC approval, FPL plans to install 1,490 MW of universal solar at 20 new projects across its service territory to meet anticipated customer enrollment in the voluntary program.
“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 percent of the country,” says Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.
The new projects attributed to the program are expected to generate an estimated $139 million in net savings for customers over the long term, primarily from avoided fuel and other system savings, according to the utility. Through the voluntary program, participating customers would subscribe to a portion of new solar power capacity, and in return, they would receive credits on their monthly bills. The program is also designed to contribute a portion of the savings to all customers, says FPL.
If approved, FPL SolarTogether would be the largest community solar program in the U.S., the utility claims.
“This program will more than double the amount of community solar currently in the U.S.,” says 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.”
Program participants would not be tied to a long-term contract and would be able to terminate or reduce their subscription at any time. In addition, because the subscription is associated with a customer account and not a physical address, program participants who move within FPL’s service area can maintain their subscription. FPL expects program participants to achieve a payback on their subscription within seven years. The utility also will retire renewable energy certificates on behalf of participants who are looking to meet sustainability goals.
So far, more than 200 of FPL’s largest energy users – including municipalities, large retail chains, universities, banks, restaurants and schools – have committed to participate in the program, the utility says.
“Reducing our impact on the environment is a major focus for 7‑Eleven, and shifting to renewable energy is important to our progress,” comments Ann Scott, director of energy, engineering and store planning for 7-Eleven. “We’re strongly encouraged by the rapid growth of large solar plants in one of our key states, Florida. The FPL SolarTogether program brings us one step closer to achieving 7-Eleven’s sustainability goals. With over 500 participating stores in Florida, we are making significant strides to reduce our carbon footprint.”
“The program gives the City of Coral Springs an opportunity to share in the benefits and cost-savings of a large-scale solar program while receiving monthly credits over the term of the project,” adds Rich Michaud, director of public works for the City of Coral Springs. “FPL SolarTogether meets the goal of sustainability for the City of Coral Springs.”
The first six solar plants, each of which will be capable of generating 74.5 MW of solar, are scheduled to be operational in early 2020, with the remaining 14 facilities planned for 2021. FPL says it has secured enough land to build all of the projects and plans to announce the individual locations in the future.