The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) recently approved cost recovery for Duke Energy Florida's (DEF's) development of five solar projects, totaling 374.1 MW. Over the life of the projects, customer savings are estimated at US$37 million; when carbon dioxide emission costs are included, customer savings increase to US$234 million.
These projects fulfill the 700-MW capacity allowed through the DEF's Solar Base Rate Adjustment (SoBRA), as defined in its 2017 Settlement Agreement. The PSC found the DEF's solar projects — Twin Rivers, Santa Fe, Charlie Creek, Duette, and Sandy Creek — are cost-effective and meet the agreement provisions.
"With these five projects, Duke Energy will reach more than 700 MW of solar additions since 2019. Florida customers will continue to benefit from emissions-free, cost-effective energy for decades," said Gary Clark, PSC chairman. "Customers will also benefit from increased fuel diversity and system reliability, as well as the deferral of new plant construction."
Each project is designed to be about 75 MW, with in-service dates in February, March, and December 2021. Sandy Creek is expected to come online in April 2022, with approved cost recovery for 56.6 out of its 74.9 MW, to meet the DEF’s authorized recovery of up to 700 MW of solar generation during the agreement term.
The DEF requested approval of US$62.5 million in total annual revenue requirements for its third — and last — group of projects. A SoBRA allows the PSC to consider adding solar projects to a utility's rate base without the expense of a full rate case proceeding.
In April 2019, the PSC approved cost recovery for the DEF's first group of solar projects — Hamilton and Columbia, with a total capacity of 149.8 MW. In July 2019, cost recovery was approved for the DEF's second set of solar projects — Trenton, Lake Placid, and DeBary, with a total capacity of 194.4 MW.