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Tampa Electric seeks sign-off to collect solar money

Tampa Electric Company is asking state regulators to approve a nearly $26.5 million base-rate increase to pay for the first phase of a plan to build solar-energy projects, according to a petition filed Thursday at the Florida Public Service Commission.

The money would pay for a 70.3-megawatt solar project in Polk County and a 74.4-megawatt project in Hillsborough County that are expected to start generating electricity by Sept. 1.

The Public Service Commission last month approved a broader base-rate agreement for Tampa Electric that included allowing the utility to seek increases for a series of solar projects.

In all, the utility plans to add about 600 megawatts of solar-energy capacity, which it said would be enough to provide power to about 100 homes.

Tampa Electric has about 750,000 customers in Hillsborough, Polk, Pinellas and Pasco counties.

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