Bill to expand solar access with community solar introduced in Florida

By Ben Delman on March 7, 2019

Florida legislators are considering a bill, SB 1156, that would create a state-wide community solar program. Community solar empowers individuals, businesses, and non-profits to benefit from solar energy, even if they’re unable to go solar on their own roof.

Community solar lets subscribers purchase or lease a share of an off-site solar system’s electricity production. Subscribers then receive a credit on their monthly electricity bill based upon the production of their share, just as they would if the system were installed on their own roof.

Even as thousands of Floridians are going solar each year, there are many more who are unable to do so. This may be because their roof is not right for solar, or because they are renters. A GTM Research report found that community solar would allow as many as 384,000 Florida residents to take advantage of solar energy by 2030 and create $4 billion in solar investment along the way.

The proposed legislation lays out several requirements for community solar projects:

  • Subscribers must be located in the same utility territory as the project to which they’ve subscribed.
  • Projects must be less than 10 MW in size.
  • Projects must have at least nine different subscribers.
  • Projects must allocate at least half of their capacity to residential and small commercial subscribers.

The bill sets a goal of generating at least 500 MW of solar from community solar projects by 2023. That’s roughly equivalent to powering 62,000 Florida homes. Of those 500 MW, 40% of the capacity is reserved for low-to-moderate income (LMI) subscribers. After 2023, the bill sets a goal of an additional 100 MW of community solar added annually and maintains the 40% carve out for LMI subscribers. Click here to urge your legislators to support community solar and bring more solar energy to the sunshine state.