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 has low electricity costs compared with other states, which makes individual solar investment less attractive.[1] Florida ranks ninth nationally in solar resource strength according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory[2] and tenth in solar generation by the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Government support[edit]

In 2006, the State of Florida enacted the Florida Renewable Energy Technologies and Energy Efficiency Act, which provided consumers with rebates and tax credits for solar photovoltaic systems.[3] The program was closed in 2010.[4] Later, the Florida Public Service Commission mandated that the state's large utilities offer individual solar rebates. The program opened in 2011 and was closed in 2015 after the Commission deemed it to not be cost-effective for non-solar customers.[5]

In 2008, Florida adopted a net metering rule that allows any electric utility customer generating up to 2 MW (2,000 kW) of power to use net metering, which provides a retail rate credit for kilowatt-hours of electricity delivered to the utility, rolled over from month to month, and paid out in cash by the utility once a year at the avoided cost rate.[6]

The federal Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit (income tax credit on IRS Form 5695) for residential PV and solar thermal was extended in December 2015 to remain at 30% of system cost (parts and installation) for systems put into service by the end of 2019, then 26% until the end of 2020, and then 22% until the end of 2021. It applies to a taxpayer's principal and/or second residences, but not to a property that is rented out. There is no maximum cap on the credit, and the credit can be applied toward the Alternative Minimum Tax, and any excess credit (greater than that year's tax liability) can be rolled into the following year.[7][8]

Large-scale facilities[edit]

In 2009, Florida Power & Light built the state's first solar power plant, the FPL DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center. At the time, the 25-MW plant was the largest of its kind. In 2010, FPL built the world's first hybrid solar-natural gas energy center.[9][10]

The state's largest solar plant is the 75 MW FPL Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, in Martin County operated by Florida Power and Light. It was the world's first hybrid solar-natural gas energy center[11] and is a concentrated solar power (CSP) plant using solar thermal instead of photovoltaic technology. No additional CSP plants are under development in Florida, although in 2007 a 300 MW fresnel CSP plant had been planned.[12]

The state's largest photovoltaic plant is the 25 MW DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, operated by Florida Power and Light, completed in 2009.[13] Florida Power and Light also operates the Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center, a 10 MW photovoltaic facility near the Kennedy Space Center.[14][15]

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.[16][17]

Florida Power and Light announced in October 2014 that it would build three more power plants by the end of 2016. The FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center is located in Manatee County at a natural gas power plant, FPL Citris Solar Energy Center is in DeSoto County, near the FPL DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, and FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center is in Charlotte County. The three plants together generate 225 MW, approximately the same as the total solar power installed in the entire state at the time. [18]

Tampa Electric Company is building a 2 MW farm at the Tampa International Airport. Gulf Power Company and 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.[19]

In April 2015, Duke Energy Florida proposed to build 500MW of solar in the next ten years.[20]

Set to go live on January 1, 2018, the 20-megawatt Tallahassee Solar Farm is still currently under construction on 120 acres of the property of Tallahassee International Airport (TLH). Even though it has reached capacity a second solar farm is being planned for the city.[21]

Duke Energy and Walt Disney World built a five-megawatt solar farm near Epcot Center which has been called the Walt Disney World Solar Facility, or 'Hidden Mickey'. It is visible from the air as a giant Mickey Mouse shape. It sells power to Walt Disney World.[22] Disney World will soon be adding a new solar farm ten times larger than the Hidden Mickey farm. Reedy Creek Improvement District and Origis Energy are in agreement to build the farm on the western edge of Disney's property. It will provide renewable solar power to the Reedy Creek Improvement District and to Disney World.[23]

In April 2018, a new Florida town just north of Fort Myers called Babcock Ranch, began attempting to become fully solar-powered. Florida Power and Light partnered with town founders to build a 75-megawatt solar-generating facility that's already running. The land was purchased in 2006 and more than 90% is being preserved for wildlife. The town's developers hope its success will keep the federal government from imposing high tariffs on solar energy, and keep the energy source in private hands. Babcock Ranch developer Syd Kitson has said that Florida has done a good job of embracing solar energy.[24]

Tampa Electric currently has a plan to build a 350-acre solar farm in rural Pasco County which is being challenged by neighbors who oppose the project for visual aesthetic reasons. A county ordinance has been proposed restricting where solar farms can be located in the future.[25]

Solar panels[edit]

Medium installation on South Beach roof in 2012.

Developers in Florida have announced the addition of solar panels on all new homes in several subdivisions.[26]

In 2013, it was discovered that Blue Chip Energy was selling fraudulent solar panels to hundreds of consumers throughout Florida.[27]

Statistics[edit]

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 GW, which would produce about 5,274,479 GWh,[28] an amount much larger than the state and countries's total electricity consumption of 231,210 GWh and 4,125,060 GWh in 2010.[29][30] Florida is one of only two states with no potential for conventional wind power, the other being Mississippi,[31] 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 0.13 GW.[28] Taller, 140 meter hub height wind turbines allow up to 153 GW of wind turbines in Florida.[32]

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
2014 159 22 16% 75 0
2015 200 41 26% 75 0
2016 682 482 241% 75 0
2017 1,432 750 110% 75 0
2018 2,289 857 60% 75 0
2019 3,690.3 1,401.3 61% 75 0
2020 6,539.8 2,849.5 77% 75 0
2021 (Q1) 7074.0 534.2 75 0
Sources: Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)[33][34][35][36][37] SEIA[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Doreen Hemlock. "Building company Moss adds rare solar parking canopy". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  2. ^ Susan Salisbury (September 16, 2015). "Florida ranks 9th in intensity of sun's rays, more solar power on way". My Palm Beach Post. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  3. ^ "The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008". Florida Solar Energy Center. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  4. ^ "Stat Finds Some Money For $52-Million Solar Rebate Backlog". Florida Environments. August 17, 2010. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  5. ^ Marco Santana (December 12, 2014). "Stat turns out lights on solar rebates after 2015". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  6. ^ Florida - Net Metering Archived 2012-10-19 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit". Energy.gov. US Department of Energy. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  8. ^ "Federal Income Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency". EnergyStar.gov. US EPA. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  9. ^ "Solar panel energy plant being built in Florida will be nation's largest". The Times-Picayune. October 24, 2009. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  10. ^ Michael Puttre. "FP Generates Electricity And Experience At Martin Hybrid Solar Facility". Solar Industry Magazine. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  11. ^ Herman K. Trabish (April 9, 2015). "$1B, 750 MW hybrid natural gas-solar facility to be built in New Mexico". Utility Dive. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  12. ^ Big Solar Thermal Power Plants Planned for Florida, California
  13. ^ "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. Archived from the original on October 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
  14. ^ "Florida launches new solar plant". Portland Business Journal. April 8, 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  15. ^ "Florida Power & Light launches clean solar energy on Florida's Space Coast". Reliable Plant. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  16. ^ Company that planned Sorrento solar farm will be liquidated
  17. ^ Solar farm site sells at public auction
  18. ^ Florida Power and Light announces plan for Manatee County Solar Center, WWSB, January 28, 2015
  19. ^ US Navy + Air Force Commission 120 MW Of New Solar Power Plants In Florida, James Ayre, January 26th, 2015
  20. ^ Duke Energy proposes large scale solar power plants over next 10 years, Tampa Bay Times, Ivan Penn, April 2, 2015
  21. ^ Tallahassee Solar, August 20, 2018
  22. ^ Orlando Sentinel, April 12, 2016
  23. ^ Orlando Sentinel, February 20, 2018
  24. ^ Public News Service, April 2, 2018
  25. ^ Tampa Bay Times, May 29, 2018
  26. ^ KB Home's Solar-As-Standard Spreads to Florida. Will It Make Solar Mainstream?
  27. ^ Ludmilla Lelis (July 28, 2013). "BlueChip Energy Failure leaves solar-power customers up in air". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  28. ^ a b Renewable Energy Technical Potential Archived 2012-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ EIA (2012-01-30). "State Electricity Profiles". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  30. ^ EIA (2016-01-13). "Electricity Detailed State Data". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
  31. ^ Estimates of Windy Land Area and Wind Energy Potential, by State
  32. ^ Florida Wind Resource Map and Potential Wind Capacity
  33. ^ Sherwood, Larry (August 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-06. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
  34. ^ Sherwood, Larry (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  35. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2010). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2009" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-09-25. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
  36. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2012" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  37. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-09-26.
  38. ^ Florida Solar

External links[edit]