Duke Plans Three More Solar Projects

Posted By: Garnie Holmes Industry ,

Duke Energy Florida has filed a proposal with the state Public Service Commission seeking to pass along costs to customers for three solar-power projects in Gilchrist, Highlands and Volusia counties.

The filing Monday is an outgrowth of a 2017 base-rate settlement that allows Duke to recover solar-project costs, though the utility has to show that the projects are reasonable and cost-effective. Duke plans to build a 74.9-megawatt facility in Gilchrist County, a 45-megawatt facility in Highlands County and a 74.5-megawatt facility in Volusia County, with an overall cost of $252 million, according to the filing, The Gilchrist and Highland facilities would start operating in December, while the Volusia facility would begin operating during the first quarter of 2020. The effect on customers’ bills would be relatively small. For example, a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month would see an increase of 92 cents a month under the combined costs of the projects.

In a prepared statement, Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida state president, said the projects would help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. “These projects represent our commitment to the environment and more fuel diversity in the state as we strategically pace the expansion of renewable generation for our Florida customers’ benefit," Stempien said. The Public Service Commission next week is also expected to take up a Duke request to recover costs for earlier-announced solar projects in Columbia and Hamilton counties.

Article reposted with permission from The News Service of Florida.