Published on April 4th, 2014 | by Cynthia Shahan13
FPL To Pilot Community-Funded Solar Power Plants
April 4th, 2014 by Cynthia Shahan
In a recent announcement, Florida Power & Light has announced a new solar power option that may soon be available to its customers in The Sunshine State. In consideration at the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) is FPL’s proposal for a voluntary, community-based, solar partnership pilot. If approved, FPL will install new solar-powered facilities in Florida communities.
The pilot will be funded with voluntary contributions from customers. The FPL customers who choose to take part will give $9 a month. This is so little for changing our future to one based on renewable, clean resources. The customers who do not take part will not see increased bills.
“As the leader in providing the most solar power in the Sunshine State, FPL has long been committed to planning for Florida’s clean-energy future, and we, along with our customers, believe solar should play an increasing role in Florida’s energy mix,” said Eric Silagy, president of FPL. “For customers who care deeply about advancing clean energy – including those who may not have the ability or desire to install their own solar systems – we are proposing to create a voluntary, community-based partnership that is designed to help grow solar in Florida without costing a penny for those who choose not to participate.”
With contributions of $9 a month, the aim is for FPL customers to fund the construction of 25 commercial-scale, distributed solar arrays totaling 110 megawatts. So, for those of us who have not yet put solar on our own roofs or cannot do so, we still can help advance the solar energy revolution.
“We know that some of our customers have an affinity for solar power, but we also know that for a variety of reasons, many are not able to install it themselves. This pilot program will allow us, along with the PSC, to truly gauge customer interest in supporting solar power,” said Silagy. “Ultimately, any program we offer must be designed to benefit all of our customers, and this voluntary, community-based solar program is designed with that goal in mind.”
The expectation is that by 2015 FPL will provide the initial necessary funding so that the installation (by local FL based installers) of at least the first two to five solar arrays can begin early the next year. Information on the first sites planned continues below:
As an incentive to encourage customer participation during the three-year pilot, the charitable foundation of Eric Silagy, president of FPL, will contribute a total of $200,000 a year on behalf of the program to Florida-based non-profit organizations and local chapters of national non-profits dedicated to environmental protection and community development. Customers who sign up for the pilot will have the opportunity to select their preferred organization from a list of several well-recognized, reputable non-profits, including the Everglades Foundation, Save the Manatee Club and the Florida chapters of the National Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy.
“The Everglades Foundation believes that solar energy is an important component of an overall strategy to reduce Florida’s and the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. FPL’s voluntary solar partnership plan is an example of the leadership and innovation needed for a better and greener Florida,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation.
Among the first communities selected to host the new solar arrays are Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota and West Palm Beach, Fla. FPL is also working with additional communities across the company’s 35-county territory to determine sites for potential installations based on a variety of factors, including space availability and local customer interest in the program.
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