FPL seeks approval in Florida of voluntary community solar program

Florida Power & Light (FPL) on March 13 filed with the Florida Public Service Commission a petition seeking approval of a new voluntary community solar program (FPL SolarTogether) that is designed to allow customers to subscribe to a portion of new universal solar capacity built through the program and to receive a portion of the system savings produced by that solar capacity.

FPL also requested approval of the associated tariff, Rate Schedule STR.

The company also said that in 2015, it made available to customers the Voluntary Solar Partnership Program, also known as SolarNow, through a commission-approved tariff that facilitates monthly voluntary contributions that fund the construction and operation of small-scale solar generation sited in local communities. Participation in SolarNow has grown to more than 45,000 FPL customers, the company said, noting that more than 11,000 FPL customers participate in the company’s net metering program with their own private solar generation.

FPL said that it has developed FPL SolarTogether as a cost-effective opportunity for customers to directly support the expansion of solar power without the need to install solar on their rooftop. Through FPL SolarTogether, customers would have the option to subscribe to kilowatts of solar capacity from dedicated cost-effective 74.5-MW solar power plants built for the program – the FPL SolarTogether Centers. Participating customers’ monthly bills would include the cost of their subscribed capacity and credits that reflect the system savings generated by their subscribed capacity, FPL said.

Noting that more than 200 customers reserved capacity totaling about 1,100 MW, with many of those customers reserving a subscription equal to 75% to 100% of their annual energy usage, FPL said that based on the high level of customer interest demonstrated during pre-registration, it has sized the initial program at 1,490 MW (Phase 1). Phase 1 consists of five FPL SolarTogether Projects that comprise a total of 20 74.5-MW solar power plants, FPL said, adding that the five FPL SolarTogether Projects in Phase 1 are estimated to enter commercial operation beginning in early 2020, with the last of the projects estimated to come online by April 2020.

Capacity would be allocated among two customer groups: 25% of program capacity, or 372.5 MW, to residential and small business customers, and 75% of program capacity, or 1,117.5 MW, to commercial, industrial, and governmental customers.

FPL also said that it projects that the overall cost for FPL SolarTogether Phase 1, inclusive of the 1,490 MW of generation and program administration costs, would be an average of $1,202 per kW, or about $1.79bn.

Among other things, the company said that FPL SolarTogether participants would not be tied to a long-term contractual commitment as once enrolled, participants may terminate or reduce their subscription level at any time. Customers may elect a subscription level equivalent to the capacity that would generate up to 100% of their previous 12 months total kilowatt-hour usage, subject to capacity availability. Increases in subscription level would be limited to once per year based on available program capacity, FPL said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2843 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 14 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.