After a slow start, Florida solar now growing

ORLANDO, Fla. — It wasn’t that long ago that New Jersey, the “Garden State”, generated more solar power than Florida, “the Sunshine State”.

But now, that’s changed.

At a recent Florida Public Service Commission meeting, it was disclosed that Florida saw 130,947 solar connections in 2021, an increase of almost 45%. In addition, the state is now generating 1.17 million kilowatts of energy from solar.

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“We’ve been in business for seven years, and seven years ago it was the early adopters who wanted to save the environment, now it is the fiscally responsible thing to do,” says Lisa Pearcy, the owner of the central Florida solar company 15 Lightyears. “We are entering a new category of new clients, because we can show numbers.”

One of the numbers the industry points at is the rising cost of buying electricity off the grid. Right now the average price of electricity off the grid in Florida is $0.1202 kWh, an increase of 5.41% in the last year.

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“The monthly bill is a pleasure to receive,” says Winter Park resident Mary Dipboy. “We love the sun, but believe it or not, even during a storm you can still produce electricity off these panels.”

Mary had her 30 panels installed eight years ago; on average she saves $100 a month.

“The panels have been great, because we know even with the price of electricity going up, we save,” says Mary.

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Another force driving the industry forward are solar co-ops. In Orange County, the solar co-op works by bringing together neighbors who all buy at the same time.

“It gives an economy of scale, you all sign an individual contract, but you are all going solar at the same time,” says Heaven Campbell of Orange County’s Solar United Neighbors

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.

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