Duke solar projects get state approval

Duke Energy Florida -- Columbia Solar Power Plant
The projects are in Hamilton, Columbia, Hardee, Manatee and Bay counties.

State regulators Tuesday signed off on a plan by Duke Energy Florida to add five solar-energy projects, as utilities continue to pursue solar expansions across the state.

Four of the Duke projects are scheduled to come online this year, with another starting to produce electricity in 2022. Each will have a capacity of slightly less than 75 megawatts.

The projects are in Hamilton, Columbia, Hardee, Manatee and Bay counties, according to a filing with the Florida Public Service Commission. Duke in a 2017 rate agreement built in the possibility of passing along the costs of such solar projects to customers.

In giving approval Tuesday, the Public Service Commission found that the projects would be cost-effective and meet the terms of the agreement.

“With these five projects, Duke Energy will reach more than 700 MW (megawatts) of solar additions since 2019,” commission Chairman Gary Clark said in a prepared statement.

“Florida customers will continue to benefit from emissions-free, cost-effective energy for decades. Customers will also benefit from increased fuel diversity and system reliability, as well as the deferral of new (power) plant construction.”

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Republished with permission from the News Service of Florida.

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