Consumer confidence in generating and using renewables continued to increase, according to electric utility reports filed with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). In 2015, customer-owned renewable energy totaled 11,626 interconnections, up from 8,571 in 2014, an increase of 36 percent. Statewide, electric generation capacity from renewable energy systems reached 107,545 kilowatts (kW), an approximate 35 percent increase over the prior year.
Florida’s PSC assisted this growth by amending its rules in 2008, making it easier for customers to interconnect their systems with the utility’s grid. The PSC’s rules promote development of customer-owned, clean renewable generation that also lowers their 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.
“Our rules assist customers who want to use renewables, and who also want to be connected to the grid,” said PSC Chairman Julie Brown. “We’ve helped accelerate renewable energy use without compromising service reliability.” Since 2008, the number of renewable systems has increased more than twenty-fold.
Solar photovoltaic panels continue to be the most popular renewable choice; however, wind turbines and anaerobic digester usage is increasing. Anaerobic digestion is a multi-step process that uses microorganisms to break down organic material to form methane and carbon dioxide gases, which are then used to generate electricity.
Florida’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs)–Florida Power & Light Company, Duke Energy Florida, LLC, Tampa Electric Company, Gulf Power Company, and Florida Public Utilities Company–are required by the rules to offer an expedited interconnection agreement process so that homeowners and businesses interested in generating their own energy can do so quickly and safely.
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.
Florida’s utilities reported the following information on customer-owned renewable generation for 2011-2015.
# of Customer-Owned Renewable Interconnections *
KW Gross Power Rating
RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE
*The number of interconnections as of December 31st of each year.
Individual utility reports on customer-owned renewable systems and summary data are available here and can be found on the PSC’s website.
Residents interested in learning more about interconnecting renewable generation systems or net metering should contact their local utility.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.
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