Renewable power expands in Florida after approval of TECO solar energy tariff

Staff reportsMay 16, 2019156

Summary:

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved Tampa Electric Co.’s optional solar energy tariff. Under the shared solar tariff, TECO customers can select to source up to 95% of their power from solar energy instead of traditional generation. Participants would be avoiding the fuel cost component of their bills based on their consumption from solar: if a household opts for 25% solar, the charge for traditional generation would be applied to 75% of their bill.

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Main Article:

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Tampa Electric Company’s (TECO) request for an optional solar energy tariff.

The approval clears the way for TECO customers who want to get solar energy. It essentially permits electric service customers to purchase energy from a designated TECO solar energy resource to replace all or part of their monthly energy consumption.

“We found the option to be in the public interest because it expands access to solar for all,” PSC Chairman Art Graham said. “Customers can easily join and leave the program, and they benefit from the utility’s cost of solar, which is lower than rooftop or smaller scale privately owned solar.”

TECO’s solar tariff provides homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to solar energy generation regardless of whether they rent or own or run a business. Currently, for example, many customers do not have access to solar because they rent. But with the new solar tariff, TECO participants would pay a Shared Solar Charge of $0.063 per kilowatt-hour for energy produced by a portion (17.5 megawatts) of the Lake Hancock solar facility, which began full operations on April 25, 2019.

However, participating customers won’t have to pay the fuel cost component of their bills on the part of their consumption that comes from solar.

  • Florida regulators on Tuesday approved Tampa Electric Company's (TECO) shared solar energy tariff, to help the investor-owned utility's customers transition to solar
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  • The tariff would charge participants $0.063/kWh to develop and maintain a solar project, as opposed to paying the $0.05/kWh charge associated with traditional generation. The Florida Public Service Commission unanimously approved the order, following staff recommendation on May 2.
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  • TECO has committed to a portfolio of 10 projects to add 600 MW of solar by 2021, which the utility claims would be the highest percentage of solar among Florida utilities. TECO customers would pay the approved tariff for 17.5 MW of 32 MW from Polk County's Lake Hancock solar facility, which began full operation April 25.

TECO represents about 765,000 customers in West Central Florida.

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