Duke Energy Florida has recently filed a proposal with state regulators to construct 750-megawatts of solar installations to be sold off to consumers. Dubbed The Clean Energy Connections by Duke, the program is shrouded in questions due to its size and regulations on any community solar project in Florida.
Whether or not the project technically falls under the term “community solar” will depend on who the program will be servicing. Duke hasn’t provided plans and locations for The Clean Energy Connections, but wording in the proposal hints at ten installations generation 74.5 megawatts each. Based on pricing examples provided by Duke, each block measures 3 kilowatts, which would equate to one project powering nearly 25,000 homes. To fall under the community solar blanket, however, the project’s scale would need to be considerably smaller.
Generally, a community solar project in Florida very rarely exceed a capacity of 20-megawatts and are typically defined by their geography. The projects, which often fall between 1 and 5-megawatts, are also owned by stakeholders instead of utility companies like Duke Energy. Should The Clean Energy Connections project be comprised of ten 74.5-megawatt installations, they’re more likely to be a customer renewable energy purchase program.
However, despite going by a different name, The Clean Energy Connections project will still provide customers with a return on their utility bill. In the proposal presented by Duke Energy, each block of energy will cost $8.35 per month per kWh. For the first 36 months, customers will receive a credit on their bill of $.04 per kWh. Beyond the initial three years, the return will increase by 1.5% annually. According to Duke Energy, customers should be receiving a credit that exceeds the monthly subscription fee within five years. Within seven, that credit will go beyond what’s been paid to-date.
The Clean Energy Connections project also has an option for low-income customers. Up to 26 megawatts has been set aside with a $8.35 per month per kilowatt. In return, they’ll receive $9.03 per month per kilowatt on their utility bill.