FPL files for rollout of largest community solar programme


US utility Florida Power & Light (FPL) has filed a proposal with the Public Service Commission to implement a new community solar programme.

The programme SolarTogether is an effort by FPL to accelerate the adoption of solar energy in Florida in a cost-effective way.

If the community solar programme is approved, will be the largest in the US, will result in the development of 29 new solar power plants and install 1,490MW of new capacity.

The first six solar plants of which each will have 300,000 solar panels will be operational by 2020 and the remaining 14 facilities by 2021.

Consumers will be registered to a portion of the new solar power capacity, and in return, they will receive credits that are expected to reduce their monthly bills over time.

FPL also will retire Renewable Energy Certificates or RECs on behalf of participants who are looking to meet sustainability goals.

The rest of the solar capacity not directed to consumers will be integrated into the main grid for reliability.

The project is expected to save $139 million in net savings for customers over the long term of up to seven years. The initiative will double the amount of community solar capacity in the US.

According to the Solar Energy Industry of America’s latest information, a total of 1,298 megawatts of community solar has been installed in the U.S. through the third quarter of last year.

Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, said; “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% of the country.

“This innovative programme is another major step forward in our ’30-by-30′ plan, which is one of the world’s largest solar expansions, and also an unprecedented opportunity for our customers to harness the power of the sun like never before.”

More than 200 of FPL’s largest energy users – including municipalities, large national retail chains, universities, banks, restaurants and schools – have committed to participate, providing the foundation for such a large programme.