• A 223.5 MW solar power project has been initiated in Florida by Florida Renewable Partners
  • Power produced from this facility in Osceola County and Orange County will be purchased by 12 municipal utilities in the state
  • Project coordinator FMPA says first phase of the construction is likely to end in mid-2020 as talks of expanding the same to 375 MW progress
  • GTM has reported Ohio state regulators have rejected AEP Ohio’s plans to develop two solar projects with 400 MW capacity in the state for which the utility will now seek bilateral contracts

In a major boost to Florida’s solar market, 12 municipal utilities in the state are backing a 223.5 MW solar power plant. The entities committed to purchase power for their customers from that plant. Called Florida Municipal Solar Project and tagged the ‘largest municipal-backed solar project in the US,’ the project may be even expanded to 375 MW capacity by 2023.

Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA), a wholesale power agency owned by municipal electric utilities in the state, is acting as the project coordinator with the 12 utilities as buyers of the power produced. The tariffs at which power will be purchased hasn’t been disclosed but FMPA says the cost of solar energy produced by the plant is about one-third the cost of electricity from a typical private rooftop solar system.

Florida Renewable Partners LLC broke ground on the project as the builder, owner and operator the plant. The company is owned by renewable energy generator NextEra Energy, Inc.

The 223.5 MW capacity will be developed on sites in Osceola County and Orange County. Phase I of the project will complete construction work by mid-2020 and will be akin to 37,250 average-size rooftop solar systems.

The 12 municipal utilities that will procure power from this project are:

  • Alachua,
  • Bartow,
  • Beaches Energy Services (Jacksonville Beach),
  • Fort Pierce Utilities Authority,
  • Homestead,
  • Keys Energy Services (Key West),
  • Kissimmee Utility Authority,
  • Lake Worth Beach,
  • Ocala,
  • Orlando Utilities Commission,
  • Wauchula and
  • Winter Park.

Trouble for large project in Ohio

While this project is being hailed in Florida, in US state Ohio, the state regulators have apparently rejected American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio’s plans to build 400 MW solar power capacity stating it wouldn’t be allowed to charge ratepayers for costs to build the project, and that it failed to demonstrate the need for this solar power capacity for the state.

It would have led to an increase of about $0.028 per month for AEP’s customers in Ohio, reported Greentech Media (GTM), but the utility said the construction of this capacity would save ratepayers $218 million over the next 20 years of their power purchase agreements (PPA) and guard against price changes in PJM interconnection.  Nevertheless, the AEP will now seek out bilateral contracts to develop the 300 MW and 100 MW projects, as per the article.