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NEWS RELEASE


07/01/2014 Contact: 850-413-6482

More Customers Using the Sun to Power Homes


TALLAHASSEE — Consumer confidence in generating and using renewables continued to increase this year, according to electric utility reports filed with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). Customer-owned renewable energy grew approximately 27 percent in 2013, to 6,697 systems, up from 5,302 in 2012. Statewide, electric generation capacity from these systems reached 63,055 kilowatts (kW), an approximate 49 percent increase since last year. 

Florida’s PSC assisted this growth by establishing rules in 2007 that promote development of customer-owned renewable generation. By making it easier for customers to interconnect their system with the utility’s grid, the PSC’s net metering rules encourage customer use of clean renewable generation that also lowers their utility bills. Since the first year of reporting, the number of renewable systems has increased more than elevenfold.

When customers generate more energy than they use in a billing cycle, putting more electricity back into the grid than they took, the net metering rules require electric utilities to credit the customer’s next bill at the full retail price.

“That helps customers offset the high cost of having their own renewable energy systems,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham.  “Full retail credit under net metering was adopted by the PSC as a way to ‘prime the pump,’ and it has accelerated the momentum of renewables.”

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 used to generate electricity.

Florida’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs)–Florida Power & Light Company, Duke Energy Florida, 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.

Customers who receive their electricity from a municipal electric utility or a rural electric cooperative 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 2008-2013.

 

# of Customer-Owned Renewable Systems

kW Gross Power Rating

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

 

IOU

           383

        1,045

        1,876

        2,826

        3,821

        4,832

        1,696

        7,653

     12,494

     19,497

     30,476

44,791

Municipal

           137

           313

           494

           615

           793

        1,008

           797

        1,696

        3,378

        4,102

        7,029

11,792

Rural Electric Cooperative

              57

           267

           463

           553

           688

           857

           272

           797

        1,955

        3,269

        4,708

6,472

TOTAL

           577

        1,625

        2,833

        3,994

        5,302

        6,697

        2,765

     10,146

     17,827

     26,868

     42,213

63,055


Individual utility reports on customer-owned renewable systems and summary data is available on the PSC’s website: ElectricNaturalGas/CustomerRenewableShowYear

Residents interested in learning more about interconnecting renewable generation systems or net metering should contact their local utility for procedures and eligibility requirements.

Solar Pilot Programs
To help encourage the development of solar energy in Florida, the PSC approved IOU solar energy pilot programs that provide customer rebates to offset some installation costs for solar photovoltaic and solar hot water heating systems. The programs also provide solar energy equipment to low-income customers and to schools. Approved through 2014, the pilot programs include an annual expenditure cap to limit the rate impact to all customers.

For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.

Follow the PSC on Twitter, @floridapsc.



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