TALLAHASSEE — Continuing its upward trend, customer-owned renewable energy generation increased approximately 38 percent last year, according to electric utility reports filed with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). In 2016, there were 15,994 renewable energy system interconnections, up from 11,626 in 2015, with a total generation capacity of 140,521 kilowatts (kW), approximately a 31 percent increase.
Florida PSC rules help promote the development of customer-owned, clean renewable generation that also lowers utility bills. When customers generate more energy than they use in a billing cycle, the excess energy is credited to their next bill to offset costs.
“Our renewable system interconnection rules have worked well for customers, accelerating their ability to realize energy and monetary savings,” said PSC Chairman Julie Brown.
Solar photovoltaic panels continue to be the most popular renewable choice; however, wind turbines and anaerobic digesters have also been installed. Anaerobic digestion is a multi-step process that uses microorganisms to break down organic material to form methane and carbon dioxide gases, which are then used to generate electricity.
Florida’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs) ,Florida Power & Light Company; Duke Energy Florida, LLC; Tampa Electric Company; Gulf Power Company; and Florida Public Utilities Company are required to offer an expedited interconnection agreement process so customers can generate their own energy quickly and safely.
Municipal electric utility and rural electric cooperative customers 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 2012-2016.
|# of Customer-Owned Renewable Interconnections *|
|RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE||688||857||1,058||1,429||2,055|
Individual utility reports on customer-owned renewable systems and summary data are available here and can be found on the PSC’s website.
Residents interested in learning more about interconnecting renewable generation systems or net metering should contact their local utility.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.