Low-Income Families in Florida are Benefiting via Community Solar Projects

Solar Power WorldOctober 11, 2019642

Summary:

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and Vote Solar joined with Florida Power & Light to refine the company’s SolarTogther program design that will include a low-income component with community solar power.

Main Article:

Low-Income Families in Florida are Benefiting via Community Solar Projects

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and Vote Solar have joined with Florida Power & Light to refine the company’s SolarTogether 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 in regards to the solar energy projects.

“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,” said 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.”

FPL SolarTogether would not only be the largest community solar power program in the United States, but also the largest voluntary low-income solar panels offering in the country. The planned installation of 1,490 MW of new solar energy 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.

“We are proud to strongly support the FPL SolarTogether program. This bold program benefits all FPL customers and significantly grows the important solar resource in the state. We were pleased to work with Florida Power & Light and other parties to get the strongest possible outcomes for all customers, including low-income customers, to be able to participate in this innovative SolarTogether program,” Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

“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,” said 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.”

FPL’s typical electric bill continues to be approximately 30% lower than the national average while the company is one of the cleanest in the country. The FPL SolarTogether program would significantly expand access to solar energy in Florida while providing a direct benefit to FPL customers – including low-income households and other customers that may not have the financial means or ability to invest in their own solar-powered system, allowing them to benefit from the economic and environmental attributes of solar energy.

“At this point, the biggest obstacle to moving this voluntary program forward is the Office of Public Counsel, who has forced an extensive delay in the regulatory process,” Silagy said. “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.”

FPL SolarTogether is designed to remove many of the financial burdens associated with private solar-powered systems while also providing direct savings in the form of bill credits, making it an affordable option for any customer. Participants could also utilize the program to meet state and federal sources of renewable energy goals. FPL hopes to receive regulatory approval in time to launch during the first quarter of 2020.

If you’re interested in going solar, see how much you can save by using the  HaHaSmart price checker tool and you can design your own solar-powered system using the design DIY tool.

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