Customer-owned renewable energy in Florida grew 33% last year with 5,296 systems, up from 3,994 in 2011, according to the Florida Public Service Commission.
Statewide, electric generation capacity from these systems reached 43,805 kilowatts (kW), up from 29,259 kW in 2011, according to reports filed by Florida’s regulated utilities.
Florida’s PSC assisted this growth by establishing rules in 2007 that promote development of customer-owned renewable generation, the commission said in a July 2 statement.
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 seen more than a sevenfold increase, the PSC said.
Solar photovoltaic panels continue to be the most popular renewable choice with 5,274 customer-owned systems in Florida; however, 28 customers have wind turbines and one has an anaerobic digester. 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.
PSC’s net metering rules require that any excess energy delivered to the utility be credited on the customers’ next bill. Florida’s investor-owned utilities include subsidiaries of NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE), Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK), TECO Energy (NYSE:TE) and Southern (NYSE:SO).
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.