Residential And Small Business Customers Can Go 100% Solar
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Duke Energy Florida today filed a proposed new Clean Energy Connection Program with the Florida Public Service Commission.
The announcement is the latest advancement in Duke Energys commitment to solar energy.
If approved by the commission, the program will provide Duke Energy Florida customers with about 750 megawatts of new, cost-effective solar power offering more options for qualified residential, business and local government customers to share in a slice of the companys solar energy production on a voluntary basis.
Duke Energy plans to invest an estimated $1 billion in its new solar power plants across Florida in the next three years. The first plants will go online in 2022 and more will follow through 2024.
The Clean Energy Connection Program is delivering on what our customers want affordable clean energy options. It will be a measurable way for customers to share in reducing carbon emissions, said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida state president. We know that larger-scale solar is the most cost-effective way to get the benefits of solar on our entire system and this program gives customers, especially those who may not have the ability to install solar at home, a compelling alternative to rooftop panels.
The program directly supports the development and construction of new cost-effective, utility-owned, solar power plants interconnected to the Florida power grid.
How the program works
Duke Energy Florida
Unclear Path Forward For Incentives
But theres a complication to working out these issues, Ledford said. The settlement agreement between Duke and parties including NC Sustainable Energy Association relies on state regulators approving the incentives for solar adopters along with the changes in how net metering is compensated. And in recent months, developments in both North Carolina and South Carolina have cast doubt on whether those incentives can be put into effect as designed.
South Carolinas Public Service Commission approved the Duke net-metering settlement in May 2020. But in January, the commission the incentive portion of the plan, Ledford said. The commission did not state why it chose to reject that portion of the plan, but it is set to release a full order explaining its reasoning in the coming weeks, he said.
A similar wrinkle emerged in a filing last week from the North Carolina Utilities Commission Public Staff, an independent agency that represents the interests of the states utility customers. In that filing, the agency states that Dukes settlement agreement made an error by classifying its proposed net-metering incentives as energy efficiency rather than solar incentives. As a result, it recommended that the commission should opt not to enact the settlement agreement.
Its a bit of a mess, Ledford said of the current status of the net-metering effort. But I dont know of a net-metering decision thats been easy anywhere in the country.
Does The Clean Energy Connection Program Save You Money
Whether the Clean Energy Program will provide financial returns for subscribers is difficult to determine. In order to see whether its worth it, well compare the $100.20 annual cost for a one-kilowatt subscription to the expected savings based on how much electricity those panels can make in a year.
We used PVWatts to determine how much electricity one kW of premium solar panels in a large-scale solar farm can make in Hardee county over one year. We wanted to be thorough, so we compared three kinds of utility-scale installations:
- Rack mount, in which panels are mounted on racks that are attached to concrete pilings in the ground
- Single axis tracking, in which the ground-mounted racks are tilted vertically based on the height of the sun in the sky
- Dual axis tracking, in which panels are mounted in groups on pivoting poles that track the sun both vertically and horizontally
To be clear, we fully expect the Duke installations to use standard rack ground mounts, but because the savings per year are so small with this type of installation, we wanted to include the two other mounting methods to see whether the savings justify the cost in any way. We came up with the following numbers:
The numbers in the table above indicate that even with extremely expensive dual axis tracking that Duke is likely not going to pay for, the savings generated by 1 kW of solar panels dont come close to the cost of subscribing to a block.
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Save More With Community Solar
No equipment to maintain or install
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No upfront cost, no enrollment fee and no investment
Take the program with you if you move*
Access to renewable solar energy at no cost to income-qualified customers
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*Must be in Duke Energy Florida service area**One month of subscription required
Duke Energy Solar Program Florida
Solar power is power from the sunlight, as well as its one of the most plentiful energy resource in the world. It can be converted from radiant power from the sun to electrical or thermal energy in order to be made use of for numerous objectives including powering homes, cars and various other tools. Duke Energy Solar Program Florida
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Support Solar And Save Money With New Duke Energy Florida Program
Customers subscribe to invest in 10 new solar sites and earn bill credits for clean energy generation
The 200,000 solar panels at Bay Trail Renewable Energy Center in Crystal River, Florida, will generate enough electricity to power roughly 23,000 homes with renewable energy. Theyll also help Duke Energy customers save money.
Bay Trail is the first of 10 solar sites that are part of a new Duke Energy program in Florida called Clean Energy Connection. Customers from large businesses to local governments and residents can subscribe to the program for a monthly fee based on how much electricity their home or business uses.
Their fees will help build $1 billion of solar in Florida. Customers will earn credit toward their bill for the electricity generated by the solar plants, and the credits will eventually exceed their monthly subscription fee, resulting in a lower electric bill.
Program manager Derick Farfan said income-qualified customers will see savings immediately while they estimate others will begin saving in around four years with a break-even point in roughly seven years.
Once customers see those economics, Farfan said, they love the idea of it.
While the program lasts for 30 years, its flexible. Customers can choose to un-enroll after as little as one month. If they move, the subscription will transfer to a new address in Duke Energys Florida service area. This program also allows renters to participate.
Enroll in Clean Energy Connection
Ending The Feeding Frenzy
The Sustainable Energy Association was little impressed with Dukes effort. Duke has not provided us with an explanation of what went wrong or responded to our request for more information about the status of rebate applicants, Peter Ledford, general counsel for the group, said by email.
To Ledfords knowledge, no customers had heard Wheelesss message that rebate promises wouldnt be rescinded. Now, almost a month later, the most important thing is for the approximately 3,000 customers involved to get clarity on the thousands of dollars that are at stake because of Duke Energys website problems, he said. Then hopefully Duke can focus on ensuring this doesnt happen again and we have a better process moving forward.
Theres a chance the Public Staff or other customers will file formal complaints with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which could require a revised system in 2021.
Duke on its own merit may want to make an informational filing to let the commission know the status of this, said Tim Dodge, an attorney with Public Staff. The commission has already heard some of this, and may direct Duke to make a filing. It could come from a number of different places, he added.
Laird Hepburn of Cary, who said he submitted his rebate application for close to $6,000 around 9:05 and was waitlisted, criticized the current feeding frenzy process.
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The Economics Of Duke Energy Net Metering
We mentioned above that the average Duke Energy Florida customer buys 1,450 kWh per month and has a bill of around $200. Of that $200, about $10.63 is the monthly customer charge, and the rest is the cost of the energy. Using solar energy, a Duke customer can eliminate energy charges down to a minimum bill of $30 per month.
In order to generate an average of 1,450 kWh per month, the homeowner would need an 11.84 kW solar system, which would cost about $35,000 if they paid cash. The savings generated by this system would be about $2,100 in the first year. Combined with the federal solar tax credit that eliminates 30% of the cost of installing a solar system, it would pay back its cost in just under 10 years.
Annual energy consumption and solar production for a Duke Energy Florida home with 11.84 kW of solar.
The image above shows estimated solar production and home energy usage according to our solar panel cost calculator. The total net savings of this sized solar system would be about $48,700 after 25 years, with an annual investment return of 10.3%. Of course, every home is unique, and you can use the calculator to determine the specific size, cost, and savings of a solar system that will meet your exact needs.
Find out how much you can save annually by switching to solar
New Sites Are Part Of $1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Duke Energy Florida today announced the locations of its four newest solar power plants the latest move in the companys program to expand its renewable generation portfolio.
We continue investing in utility-scale solar in Florida because our customers deserve a cleaner energy future, said Duke Energy Florida state president Melissa Seixas. These solar plants are the latest milestones in our strategy to deliver reliable, cost-effective, clean energy to our customers.
Duke Energy Florida plans to invest an estimated $1 billion in 10 new solar power plants across Florida, including the four sites announced today.
Construction on the four sites will begin in early 2022 and will take approximately 9 to 12 months to complete. Construction of all 10 sites is projected to be finished by late 2024.
Combined, the plants will produce about 750 megawatts of new, cost-effective solar power.
One of the new sites will be built in Suwannee County in north Florida.
Suwannee County welcomes Duke Energys latest solar project. It promotes green energy and brings jobs and capital investment into our community, said Suwannee County economic development director Jimmy Norris. We invite more opportunities that protect the environment while helping the future growth of our community.
The four new sites:
The company currently has more than 900-MW of solar generation under construction or in operation in Florida.
Building A Smarter Energy Future®
Duke Energy Florida
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Duke Energy Florida Has An Approximately 1500
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Duke Energy Floridas Duette Solar Power Plant is now operational, delivering on the companys commitment to expand its clean energy portfolio statewide.
With a combined investment of over $2 billion, Duke Energy Floridas solar generation portfolio will include 25 grid-tied solar power plants that will benefit all of the companys 1.9 million Florida customers. These projects will provide about 1,500 MW of emission-free generation using approximately 5 million solar panels by 2024.
Customers want us to provide more renewable and cleaner energy. As another solar site goes into operation, were delivering on that promise, said Duke Energy Florida state president Melissa Seixas. These investments will allow Florida customers to enjoy an energy system that is increasingly resilient and provides cleaner energy to everyone in our service area.
The Duette facility was built on approximately 520 acres in Manatee County, Fla., and was placed in service on Oct. 25 more than seven weeks ahead of its scheduled completion date. It is part of Duke Energy Floridas $1 billion investment to provide customers with 700 MW of clean energy by 2022.
The project team performed more than 175,000 safe work hours to complete the Duette Solar Power Plant. The 74.5-MW facility consists of approximately 227,000 single-axis tracking solar panels, capable of producing enough electricity to power approximately 23,000 homes at peak production annually.
Duke Energy Florida
Guide To Duke Energy Solar Programs In Florida
If youre a Florida homeowner and a customer of Duke Energy, you should know that the utility offers a few programs that allow you to take advantage of solar power. However, not all of Dukes solar programs are created equal. Below, well break down whats available, and which is the best choice for the majority of homeowners in the Sunshine State.
The average homeowner in Florida spends about $200 per month on their Duke Energy bill, using over 17,600 kilowatt-hours per year. Thats a lot of money, and many homeowners have installed solar panels on their roofs to help reduce their electricity bills.
The best way to save money with solar is a program called net metering, which well discuss below. But Duke Energy also offers two other programs to support solar energy. Believe it or not, one of them actually costs you extra each month, but the other could show some promising long-term savings.
Find out if going solar is worth it where you live
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Duke Power Web Metering
The ultimate program well cowl on this article is the perfect and its known as web metering.
Floridas net metering law has been on the books since 2008, and provides kWh credits for people who install solar panels on their roofs and are customers of Duke Energy Florida, Florida Power & Light, Florida Public Utilities Company, Gulf Power, and Tampa Electric Company .
The Shared Photo Voltaic Program
Should youre interested by paying Duke Power extra cash each month to help the event of latest utility-scale photo voltaic farms, that is the plan for you .
Underneath the Shared Photo voltaic program, you buy a block of fifty kilowatt-hours in solar energy for $7.75 each per month, then get a credit back on your bill of $1.04 per month. This means that the Shared Solar program will cost you a net amount of $6.71 per block.
The average homeowner uses about 1,450 kWh per month, and if they chose to offset all of that, theyd need 29 blocks. At $6.71 per block, the Shared Solar program would cost that person $194.59 extra, every month. In our opinion, thats a terrible deal.
If youre a Florida Duke Energy customer and a masochist, you can learn more about the Shared Solar program here. You can too check out this example bill to see how the Shared Photo voltaic program expenses would seem in your invoice, if, yknow, you hated having cash.
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In Settlement With Installers Duke Energy Concedes Ground In Plot To Hobble States Rooftop Solar Program
DURHAM, N.C. Duke Energy and three rooftop solar installers have reached a settlement in a fight over the monopoly utilitys proposal to hobble North Carolinas net metering program, with opponents of Dukes plan calling the settlement a partial win even as they vow to keep fighting for rules that reflect the full value of rooftop solar for all North Carolinians.
Based on an initial review of the settlement, which was released just today, NC WARN and EWG say Duke was apparently required to make a number of concessions from its original proposal, which would have cut the value to rooftop solar households by 35% or more.
But the groups say the settlement if approved would leave Dukes net metering plan extremely complicated, reduce value to customers, and be a step backward for rooftop solar instead of the forward progress needed to meet North Carolinas climate protection goals.
The settlement is but one step in the fight at the North Carolina Utilities Commission . NC WARN and EWG say they and allies will continue to insist that the NCUC follow a 2017 state law that firmly prohibits any change to net metering rules until the NCUC conducts a cost-benefit analysis of its value to non-solar power users a step that state Attorney General Josh Stein says is required.
Duke Energy Seeks Changes In How Solar Owners Are Paid For Electricity
Duke Energy has proposed new rules for how owners of rooftop solar panels are paid for electricity they send to the electric grid. It could mean more complexity and lower payments, but the utility says rates would be fairer.
State legislators have called for changes in the payment rules known as “net metering.”
Right now, solar panel owners who produce more electricity than they need get credits on their bills, equal to whatever they pay for electricity. Under the proposed changes, the credit would be lower and would vary according to electricity demand, said Duke spokesperson Randy Wheeless.
“So in a cold winter morning, like now, you would get more, but maybe in a mild spring day, you would get less,” Wheeless said Tuesday. “So, it better reflects what the price of electricity is.”
Besides setting rates by time of use, solar owners also would have to pay a minimum of $10 a month for electricity, even if they don’t use any from the grid. That’s on top of Duke’s $14 basic charge. Duke said it needs the extra revenue to pay for infrastructure to serve solar customers.
The proposal is the result of an agreement between Duke and solar industry groups the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represented Vote Solar and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy solar panel maker Sunrun Inc. and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The deal is similar to one approved by regulators in South Carolina last year.
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