Consumer use of renewables to generate electricity continued to increase last year, according to electric utility reports filed with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). Customer-owned renewable energy grew approximately 28 percent in 2014, to 8,571 systems interconnected to utility grids, up from 6,697 in 2013. Statewide, electric generation capacity from customer renewable energy systems reached 79,797 kilowatts (kW), an increase of approximately 33 percent since last year.
Florida’s PSC helped get the ball rolling by amending its rules in 2008 to promote development of customer-owned renewable generation. By making it easier and more affordable for customers to interconnect an otherwise uneconomic system with their utility’s grid, the PSC’s rules have encouraged customer use of clean renewable generation that also lowers their utility bills.
When customers generate more energy than they use in a billing cycle, the excess energy is credited to the customer’s next monthly bill, helping them offset the cost of having their own renewable energy systems.
“The PSC’s commitment to energy efficiency and renewables have given important momentum to renewables in Florida,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham.
Solar photovoltaic panels continue to be the most popular renewable choice; however, use of wind turbines is also increasing.
Florida’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs)–Florida Power & Light Company, Duke Energy Florida Inc., Tampa Electric Company, Gulf Power Company, and Florida Public Utilities Company–are required by PSC rules to offer an expedited interconnection agreement process so that homeowners and businesses interested in generating their own energy can do so quickly.
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.
Florida’s utilities reported the following information on customer-owned renewable generation for 2010-2014.
# of Customer-Owned Renewable Interconnections *
kW Gross Power Rating
RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE
*The number of interconnections as of December 31st of each year.
Individual utility reports on customer-owned renewable systems and summary data are available on the PSC’s website: http://www.floridapsc.com/ElectricNaturalGas/CustomerRenewableShowYear?folder=2014/.
Residents interested in learning more about interconnecting renewable generation systems or net metering should contact their local utility for procedures and eligibility requirements.
For additional information, visit http://www.floridapsc.com/.
Follow the PSC on Twitter, @floridapsc.