Smart Grid Observer

FPL Receives Approval to Launch the Largest Community Solar Program in the U.S.

Source: Smart Grid Observer

March 4, 2020 -- Florida Power & Light Company recently (3/3) received approval from the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) to launch the largest community solar program in the United States - FPL SolarTogether. The program will more than double the amount of community solar currently available in the U.S. and provide FPL customers the opportunity to cost-effectively support the growth of solar in Florida. Additionally, the program will benefit all FPL customers by reducing the company's already-low fuel costs and adding more emissions-free solar generation to FPL's energy mix.

'This program represents significant forward progress for the solar landscape of not only Florida, but the entire United States,' said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. 'For years, access to solar energy for many Floridians was not economical or easily accessible. Now, FPL SolarTogether will provide more of our customers access to the environmental and financial benefits of solar generation regardless of where they live or how much money they make while helping increase fuel diversity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and launch Florida into a leadership position for solar energy.'

As a response to increased customer demand for alternative ways to receive the financial and environmental benefits of solar generation - leading to a reduced carbon footprint and lower energy bills - FPL SolarTogether removes traditional barriers such as large upfront costs, no long-term commitment, no penalty for leaving and the program can move with you, providing a cost-effective way to go solar. The program is expected to generate $249 million in net cost savings for both participants and the general body of customers. FPL's general body of customers are expected to save about $112 million over the life of the solar plants.

'By unanimously approving FPL SolarTogether - the largest shared solar program in the country - the FPSC has, once again, reminded the world that Florida is committed to leading by example when it comes to adapting to changing times and meeting customers' needs while taking a long-term view to keep costs down,' said Silagy. 'In addition to providing unprecedented solar access to customers who choose to participate in the voluntary program, FPL SolarTogether will help keep the air clean and bills low for all of our customers as we march toward installing more than 30 million solar panels by 2030.'

Support for the FPL SolarTogether program comes from some of Florida's largest employers and national chains like Walmart and 7-Eleven, numerous cities and counties such as Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and organizations like the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Vote Solar.

More than 150,000 residential and small business customers have shown interest for FPL SolarTogether by signing up for program updates in anticipation of the program's launch. This voluntary solar program puts participants in control of their level of commitment. Customers can offset up to 100% of their electricity use with solar. Each month, participants will receive a fixed subscription charge based on the amount of their subscription as well as a subscription credit that is determined by the output from the associated solar power plants. Over time, the subscription credit will increase, resulting in a net-zero charge for participation.

'Long gone are the days when electricity was simply a commodity and customers weren't focused on the source of power generation. Now, with climate change at the forefront of many conversations, FPL SolarTogether allows customers interested in advancing solar energy to be in control of their energy sources,' said Dr. Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. 'The Commission's unanimous approval of the largest community solar program in the country will help propel Florida to the next level of solar leadership. FPL's innovative SolarTogether program will provide access to low-cost solar energy for families and businesses across our state that want to make a real difference in tackling climate change by adopting clean, renewable sources of power. We look forward to continuing to work with FPL as the company moves forward with the launch of this groundbreaking program.'

Designed to provide everyone with an opportunity to participate, FPL SolarTogether also includes an allocated portion of its solar capacity to low-income customers. This component represents the largest low-income solar offering in the country and is also expected to launch later this year.

'SolarTogether opens the door to a greener energy future that comes with cost savings that low-income households need now more than ever,' said Katie Chiles Ottenweller, southeast director of Vote Solar. 'Clean energy solutions to keep bills affordable will mean more Floridians who are struggling to make ends meet can go to bed at night with one less thing to worry about.'

FPL plans to open enrollment on March 17, 2020.

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