Florida’s Sun Power to Grow by 7 GW

Solar generation will jump 44 percent over the next decade, the state public service commission predicts.

The Florida Public Service Commission’s (PSC) annual 10-Year Site Plan Report anticipates that the state’s solar energy use will increase by 44 percent over the next decade. As part of Florida’s total electric generating resources, renewables are expected to increase from the current 2 percent to 8 percent.

According to the report, the Sunshine State is expected to install 7,125 megawatts, including 5,551 megawatts of utility-owned solar and 1,574 megawatts of contracted solar. Natural gas-fired generating units will continue to comprise a majority of generation additions.

“Interestingly, this planning cycle differs from others in that renewable capacity is projected to become the second-highest installed capacity source in our state,” PSC Commissioner Gary Clark said in prepared remarks.

Florida is served by 57 electric utilities, including five investor-owned utilities (IOUs), 35 municipal utilities and 17 rural electric cooperatives. IOUs represent more than 78 percent of the state’s net energy load. “With utilities deploying battery storage options, solar energy will become more useful and its role will continue to grow,” Commissioner Clark added.

Even though natural gas dominates in Florida, utilities increasingly are diversifying their mix of resources. The majority of installed renewable capacity is represented by biomass, solar and municipal solid waste, making up about 73 percent of Florida’s renewables. Other major types of renewable resources include waste heat, landfill gas and hydroelectric.