About seven months ago, in November of 2018, I wrote a post on the fact that the solar power industry was about to take off in Florida. Well, here we are about half way through 2019 and that’s certainly the case.
This post comes by way of a PV Magazine article.
Of course, there’s no real surprise here. Large, utility-scale solar projects are announced many months in advance of ground being broken. And there was more than one large installation announced.
So how big has Florida’s solar expansion been so far in 2019?
One word. MASSIVE.
For the first quarter of 2019, Florida installed more solar power capacity than any other state in the country. Florida’s Q1 came in at 860 MW while California installed 838 MW. This is especially impressive as California is typically the largest installer of solar, quarter by quarter, year after year by wide margins.
Also, in all fairness to the state’s solar power industry, it first showed up on the solar map in a big way with about 400 MW in 2016. The difference now, of course, is that it is finally competing with California. Florida has plenty of land available for large scale solar installations, and being “The Sunshine State” helps too.
This trend will continue as Florida’s largest utility, Florida Power and Light, has announced a ten year goal of getting 30 million solar panels installed. This amounts to a capacity goal of 10 GW by 2030.
While this has mainly been utility-scale solar that has been mentioned so far, there’s now good indications that the residential market will start to finally pick up pace as well. Word is finally getting out how affordable solar is in Florida.
It should be mentioned, however, that a significant reason why the residential market stalled for many years was that the large solar leasing companies were not allowed to do business in the state. This, in turn, had many people thinking that going solar was simply not allowed at all. Unfortunately, many of those homeowners could have gone solar through other financing means.
There is a silver lining here. The new marketing efforts of these solar companies will help spread awareness of solar in general, and more savvy homeowners will choose to go solar. However, they will instead choose local companies as they will save thousands more with them.