Duke Energy has completed the first of 10 community solar projects in Florida as part of a new program.
The 75 MW Fort Green Renewable Energy Center is now supplying clean energy and savings to customers in Hardee County, which marks the launch of the Clean Energy Connection community solar program.
The Fort Green project was built on approximately 500 acres of repurposed mining land. The project consists of nearly 265,000 solar panels, utilizing a fixed-tilt racking system that will produce enough carbon-free energy to effectively power more than 23,000 average-sized homes at peak production.
Once completed, the 10 projects in the Clean Energy Connection community solar program will feature 750 MW of generating capacity.
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The second project in the program, the Bay Trail Renewable Energy Center in Citrus County, is expected to begin supporting subscriptions later this summer.
The monthly subscription fee for the Clean Energy Connection program is fixed at $8.35 per kW. A customer with average usage of 1,000 kWh/month could subscribe to approximately 5 kW to cover their full usage.
Subscribers receive bill credits based on their subscription size and the amount of 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, and then starting with the 37th month of continuous enrollment, the bill credit rate increases by 1.5% every year. This bill credit amount varies each month with the actual solar energy produced, where it may be greater during the months with more direct sunlight.
The program sets aside 26 MW for income-qualified customers who participate in government subsidy programs or Duke Energy’s low-income energy efficiency program, Neighborhood Energy Saver.
For income-qualified customers, the fixed monthly $9.03 credit per kW subscribed will always be higher than the fixed monthly $8.35 subscription fee per kW subscribed.
Since the bill credits are greater than the subscription fee, income-qualified customers will continue to save each month for as long as they subscribe to the program.
The average subscription amount for income-qualified customers (5 kW) results in approximately $42/year in bill savings.