On Tuesday, the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) approved Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) SolarTogether program.
FPL noted SolarTogether will be the largest voluntary utility-led solar program that will benefit as many as 10,000 lower-income Floridians. The approval comes as a result of a settlement with Vote Solar and other climate and community advocates and businesses.
“The Commission approved the Settlement Agreement because this unique solar program is in the public interest of the State of Florida, and offers FPL customers the opportunity to advance renewable energy in Florida,” said PSC Chairman Gary Clark on Tuesday after the unanimous vote. “The new solar additions will serve to reduce the risk of higher fuel and emissions costs for all FPL ratepayers.”
“Every Floridian should be able to participate and benefit from affordable, clean, local solar power,” said Katie Chiles Ottenweller, the southeast director for Vote Solar. “Solar is now the most affordable electricity resource in Florida, making it even more important that low-income families have access to solar savings.”
The program, which was originally announced last March, will deploy almost 1,500 megawatts of shared solar in FPL territory. Vote Solar estimates that the 37.5 megawatts set aside to serve low-income families will help participants save $1,300 over the life of the program.
Another added benefit is FPL offering free home energy audits to subscribers which, the company insists, will help low-income families save more.
“Florida’s low-income families are already on the frontlines of the climate crisis, they have so much to gain from participating in shared solar projects like SolarTogether,” said Yoca Arditi-Rocha, the executive director of the CLEO Institute which defines itself as the “only nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Florida that is exclusively dedicated to climate change education and engagement.”
Like other shared solar programs, SolarTogether allows customers to subscribe to part of a local offsite solar array and receive a credit on their electricity bill for the solar energy produced by their subscription.
SolarTogether also noted that shared solar will allows renters and families with homes that are not suitable for solar panels or who cannot afford the costs of putting panels on their homes.
Currently, 19 states and Washington, D.C. have passed legislation to allow for shared solar programs. FPL’s program will double U.S. shared solar capacity.
SolarTogether is also expected to save non-subscribing customers of FPL millions due to fuel costs and additional savings resulting from investments in solar power. The program is set to launch later this year.
Reach Ed Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.