Florida’s stunted customer owned solar grows 76% in 2018


The Sunshine State’s customer owned solar power is growing from a very low base, but it is growing. However, and for good reason, utility scale solar in the state gets the constant headlines here on pv magazine USA, with the state’s investor owned utilities driving a record first quarter in the USA. And it’s going to stay that way for a while.

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has reported that cumulative customer-owned renewable energy systems installed in the state increased by 57% over the prior year’s cumulative total. The total capacity of customer sited renewable energy reached 317 MWac.

In terms of solar power alone – which pv magazine USA broke out alone in this Google Sheet, the state deployed over 13,702 systems and 113 MWac. These numbers were increase of 68% and 76%, respectively, versus 2017 deployment volumes. In total, the state now has 310 MW of customer owned, net metered, solar power in the state.

This deployment volume includes residential and commercial installations.

The above chart is from the PSC articles highlighting total renewable additions. At the end of 2018, there were 31 non solar projects totaling 7,187 kW. This volume, which is cumulative, was actually greater at the end of 2017 – with 37 total projects connected, totaling 7,617 kW. The numbers for this article, used values excluding these installations – focusing only on the solar power volume deployed.

Reports breaking out solar alone, along with the wind and “other” customer owned renewables, can be found here.

For comparison’s sake, the State of California – with nearly double population of Florida – deployed more than 1.5 GWdc of customer owned solar power in 2018. This value is more than four times greater than Florida has deployed cumulatively.

While this data doesn’t break it out, and since it takes time for large commercial machines to expand, some of this volume increase might be for “customer owned” systems that are actually owned by the large residential lease companies. This might lead to further expansion in growth numbers as we saw Sunrun break the dam by getting approved for a fixed price solar lease – not a power purchase agreement that varies based on generation – in the state in 2018. Subsequently, all major third party solar companies got their respectively solar lease contracts approved by the PSC as well.

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