Solar power in Florida

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Solar power in Florida has been increasing, as the cost of solar power systems using photovoltaics (PV) has decreased in recent years. Florida adopted a net metering rule which allows any customer generating up to 2 MW to use net metering, with the kilowatt hour surplus rolled over each month, and paid by the utility once a year at the avoided cost rate.[1]

Florida had required public utilities to provide solar rebates. A program from 2011-2015 provided a $2/W rebate. The programs opened once a year and the limited number of spaces were quickly filled.[2]

Florida utilities have been perceived as anti-solar, leading Floridians for Solar Choice to start a referendum to put a measure on the 2016 ballot which would allow solar panel owners to sell power directly to their neighbors or tenants.[3] Within weeks of the drive to get signatures for the proposal, several large scale solar plants were proposed by Florida utility companies.

The available solar energy potential of the state is estimated at 2.9 TW[citation needed] about 15% of the world's total power demand.

Large-scale facilities[edit]

The state's largest solar plant is the 75 MW Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, in Martin County. It is a concentrated solar power (CSP) plant using solar thermal instead of photovoltaic technology. As of 2015, no additional CSP plants are under development in Florida, although in 2007 a 300 MW fresnel CSP plant had been planned.[4]

The state's largest photovoltaic plant is the 25 MW DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, completed in 2009.[5] A 400 MW solar farm is planned for Gadsden County, 200 MW in Hardee County and 100 MW in Liberty County.[6]

The 100 MW Sorrento Solar Farm was expected to become Florida's largest photovoltaic solar farm with 40 MW of photovoltaic capacity already under construction in Lake County. However the company Blue Chip Energy became insolvent and the equipment and farm site was sold at a public auction in 2013.[7][8]

New solar plants proposed in January 2015 by Florida Power and Light would be located in Manatee County at a natural gas power plant, in DeSoto County, near the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center and in Charlotte County. The three plants together would generate 225 MW, approximately the same as the total solar power installed in the entire state.[9] Tampa Electric is building a 2 MW farm at the Tampa International Airport. The U.S. military announced contracts for the construction of 3 large plants in Florida: a 50 MW project at Saufley Field in Pensacola, a 40 MW project being at Holley Field in Navarre, and a 30 MW project at Eglin Air Force Base.[10] In March 2015 a 10MW solar farm was proposed for Tallahassee which has a municipal electric utility.[11] In April 2015, Duke Energy proposed to build 500MW of solar in the next ten years.[12]

Duke Energy is building a 20-acre solar farm in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head. The 5MW farm will sell power to Walt Disney World. Completion is expected in late 2015.[13]

New homes[edit]

Some builders are now adding solar panels on all new homes in some subdivisions.[14]


Average solar insolation

Potential generation[edit]

Solar energy is the state's most abundant energy resource and estimates have placed the state's potential at 2,902,000 MW, which would produce about 5,274,479,000 MWh,[citation needed] an amount much larger than the state's total electricity consumption of 231,209,614 MWh in 2010.[15] Florida is one of only two states with no potential for wind power, the other being Mississippi,[16] and will need to either import energy from other states during overcast days and at night, or provide adequate grid energy storage. Most of the potential is from photovoltaics, which provides no storage. The state has some potential for concentrated solar power, but the potential is estimated at 130 MW.[17]

Installed capacity[edit]

Florida Solar Capacity (MWp)
Year Photovoltaics CSP
Capacity Change % Change Capacity Change % Change
2008 3.3 0.9 38% 0
2009 39.0 35.7 1082% 0
2010 73.8 34.8 87% 75 75
2011 95.0 21.2 30% 75 0
2012 116.9 21.9 23% 75 0
2013 137.3 20.4 17% 75 0
Sources: Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)[18][19][20][21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Florida - Net Metering
  2. ^ State turns out lights on solar rebates after 2015, Marco Santana, Orlando Sentinel, December 12, 2014
  3. ^ ‘Green Tea Coalition’: Strange bedfellows fight for solar power in Sunshine State,, John Roberts, January 16, 2015
  4. ^ Big Solar Thermal Power Plants Planned for Florida, California
  5. ^ "President Obama joins FPL for commissioning of nation's largest solar PV power plant; announces $200 million in smart grid funding for FPL's 'Energy Smart Florida'". Florida Power & Light (FPL). October 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  6. ^ National Solar Power Reaches Key Milestone in Florida Solar Farm Projects
  7. ^ Company that planned Sorrento solar farm will be liquidated
  8. ^ Solar farm site sells at public auction
  9. ^ Florida Power and Light announces plan for Manatee County Solar Center, WWSB, January 28, 2015
  10. ^ US Navy + Air Force Commission 120 MW Of New Solar Power Plants In Florida, James Ayre, January 26th, 2015
  11. ^ Tallahassee prepares to add solar power to portfolio, Byron Dobson, Tallahassee Democrat, March 24, 2015
  12. ^ Duke Energy proposes large scale solar power plants over next 10 years, Tampa Bay Times, Ivan Penn, April 2, 2015
  13. ^ A solar farm in the shape of Mickey Mouse is coming to Florida, seriously, Fortune, Katie Fehrenbacher, May 28, 2015
  14. ^ KB Home's Solar-As-Standard Spreads to Florida. Will It Make Solar Mainstream?
  15. ^ EIA (2012-01-30). "State Electricity Profiles". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  16. ^ Estimates of Windy Land Area and Wind Energy Potential, by State
  17. ^ Renewable Energy Technical Potential
  18. ^ Sherwood, Larry (August 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  19. ^ Sherwood, Larry (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  20. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2010). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2009" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  21. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2012" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  22. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-09-26. 

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