Duke Energy Florida proposes new program providing solar access to customers while lowering bills over time

Duke Energy Florida (DEF) today filed a proposed new Clean Energy Connection (CEC) Program with the Florida Public Service Commission.

The announcement is the latest advancement in Duke Energy’s commitment to solar energy.

If approved by the commission, the program will provide Duke Energy Florida customers with about 750 megawatts (MW) of new, cost-effective solar power – offering more options for qualified residential, business and local government customers to share in a slice of the company’s 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.

Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida President

“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.

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,” said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida state president.

The program directly supports the development and construction of new cost-effective, utility-owned, solar power plants interconnected to the Florida power grid.

Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg Mayor

“We appreciate Duke Energy’s development of the CEC program, which is another step in the right direction.

Our initial subscription represents our commitment to work with DEF and others in the state for more ambitious renewable energy goals and a just transition to clean energy,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

How the program works

Customers can subscribe to kilowatt blocks of solar power from the company’s Clean Energy Connection solar portfolio.

The monthly subscription fee will help pay for the cost of construction and operation of the solar power plants and is conveniently added to a customer’s regular electric bill.

Participating customers can subscribe to blocks of solar generation equivalent to 1 kilowatt (kW) of solar power per block and receive bill credits based on their subscription size and the solar energy that is produced by the Clean Energy Connection solar facilities each month.

The monthly subscription fee is fixed at $8.35 per kW.

A customer with average usage of 1,000 kWh/month would need to subscribe to approximately 5 kW to cover their full usage.

Subscribers receive bill credits based on their subscription size and the solar energy that is produced by the Clean Energy Connection solar facilities each month.

The bill credit rate for the first 36 months of the program participation will be 4 cents per kWh (kilowatt-hour), then the bill credit rate increases by 1.5% every year.

The bill credit amount varies each month with the actual solar energy produced, where it may be greater during the months with more direct sunlight.

For a residential customer subscribing to a 5-kW block, the month-to-month impact will vary, but the net annual impact in year one is estimated to be a charge of about $6. Starting in year five, the annual bill credit is estimated to exceed the subscription fee.

By year seven, customer credits are expected to exceed the charges paid to date for the program.

The program sets aside 26 MW for low-income customers who participate in government subsidy programs or Duke Energy Florida’s low-income energy efficiency program.

With program enrollment, low-income customers will see guaranteed savings on their bill every month.

These customers will pay an $8.35 monthly per kW subscription fee and receive a $9.03 monthly per kW bill credit, producing a savings of 68 cents for every kW subscribed.

In this case, a low-income customer subscribing to a 3-kW block will save $2.04 every month, or $24.48 annually.

The Clean Energy Connection Program is designed to utilize low-cost universal DEF solar facilities while delivering solar energy efficiently to and for the benefit of all of our customers.

It is also designed to provide participating customers with a seven-year full payback, with bill credits first exceeding subscription fees around three to five years.

As long as the customer remains in the program for seven years, the annual bill credits are projected to be more than the subscription costs, creating real customer bill savings.

Ben Pr
att, SVP, Government and Public Affairs at The Mosaic Company

“Duke Energy’s Clean Energy Connection Program aligns well with Mosaic’s commitments to environmental sustainability.

We applaud Duke Energy for this innovative approach to expanding the use of renewable energy sources,” said Mosaic Senior Vice President, Government and Public Affairs Ben Pratt.

Customers can request to offset 100% of their power usage with solar by subscribing to enough blocks of solar power to match the customer’s annual energy usage.

If approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, the program will open to residential and small businesses for enrollment in 2021 with the program beginning to generate power at the beginning of 2022.

For more information, visit  Clean Energy Connection website

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