Late last week, Vote Solar submitted comments to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) raising concerns about Tampa Electric Company’s (TECO) “Shared Solar Rider Tariff,” a proposal that purports to be “community solar” but would do little to actually benefit its customers or expand solar options. Vote Solar, a national nonprofit advocacy organization, outlined the proposed program’s many shortcomings, including its failure to drive new solar power development in the state, instead relying on an already-approved project.
As the price of solar has fallen by more than 70% over the last decade, solar is lowering utility bills for millions of families and businesses nationwide. However, TECO’s program as currently proposed won’t pass on those cost-saving benefits to customers, instead charging customers that choose to subscribe a premium on their bills for the first fifteen years of their enrollment.
“While we’re pleased to see Florida’s electric utilities beginning to recognize the high customer demand for clean energy choices like solar, it’s essential that utilities aren’t given the green light to mislead customers into thinking they will be saving money or driving more solar,” said Katie Chiles Ottenweller, southeast director at Vote Solar. “Florida has a huge opportunity to unlock the cost-saving benefits of solar for all residents, as proposed by State Senator Lori Berman in this year’s Senate Bill 1156. We urge policymakers to consider true community solar as an opportunity to benefit Floridians.”
In place in 19 states and Washington, D.C., community solar is already enabling solar access for families and businesses across the country. When designed well, community solar gives utility customers that can’t install solar on their own property access to cost-saving benefits similar to what rooftop solar is already providing for millions of Americans. A recent report from Vote Solar and GTM Research found that if done correctly, community solar could serve and save money for as many as 8.4 million customers across Florida.
News item from Vote Solar