Florida’s Solar Industry Is Starting To Shine

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.

The Mayor Of South Miami Goes All In With Solar Plus Storage

Much has been written on this site concerning the considerable potential of solar plus storage possibilities. This post goes into an exciting real life case study.

This post comes by way of a Miami Herald article.

The Mayor of South Miami has decided to showcase the potential of combining solar panels with a home energy storage system.

Philip Stoddard has long been a proponent of renewable energy. He lamented Reagan’s decision to remove the solar panels that Carter put on the White House. “We’re smarter now, aren’t we?”

As anyone who lives in Florida can attest, any given hurricane can knock out power for many days. This was the main impetus for Stoddard’s experiment of seeing if he and his family can be energy self-reliant for 7 days.

Photo credit – Daniel A. Varela DVARELA@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Stoddard, his wife and three kids have a fairly average sized solar panel system of 7.5 kw and two Tesla Powerwalls that can store a total of 27 kWh. The combined continuous power that can be drawn from two powerwalls is 10 kWh.

As this was a first for Stoddard, he was certainly concerned about whether this experiment would deliver positive results. After all, most of us expect reliable and abundant power for the many different appliances that we use. Two specific concerns were air conditioning and their electric clothes dryer, appliances that use significant amounts of electricity.

While it was close, the family’s solar panel system and energy storage systems were able to provide for all of their energy needs for seven days.

There must be a catch, right? They must be paying a fortune for this ability. Actually, no. Stoddard mentioned – “It typcially takes seven or eight years to pay off a system and get free electricity. Depending on how much of your electric bil you want to cover, you figure you get about a 14 percent return on your capital investment. If I could get that same return on investment in my retirement account, I’d put it all in solar. You can’t count on the stock market, but you can count on the sun. Solar provides the one opportunity for the average American homeowner to save money while saving the planet.”

What’s truly exciting about this story out of Florida is not just that the experiment was a success. This is no surprise because the technology has been tested and proven reliable. Instead what is exciting about this is the fact that adding solar plus energy storage is now cost effective, especially in the higher priced electricity areas of the country. The fact of the matter is that no matter how many homeowners would like to do the right thing environmentally and be energy self-sufficient, they won’t unless they can afford it.

It’s great that mayor Philip Stoddard is doing his part in creating awareness for his fellow Floridians about what is possible concerning solar and energy storage.