Florida Public Service Commission Approves Tampa Electric’s Two New Solar Projects

TALLAHASSEE, FL (STL.News) The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) Thursday approved cost recovery for the third phase of Tampa Electric Company’s (TECO) solar plans, covering two solar projects that total 150 megawatts (MW).

“TECO’s expanded use of solar power continues to improve its fuel diversity and sustainability, which is good for the economy, as well as the environment,” PSC Chairman Art Graham said.  “Today’s approval of TECO’s third solar project phase brings the utility’s total to 550 megawatts of solar generation, which lowers fuel costs.”

Located in Hillsborough County, the two new solar projects include Wimauma Solar (74.8 MW) and Little Manatee River Solar (74.5 MW).  Both projects are expected to be in service on or before January 2020.

The additional revenue requirement for the two projects is $26.5 million, which is below the cap approved in TECO’s 2017 rate settlement agreement.  This translates to a $1.00 monthly bill increase, beginning in January 2020, for a residential customer using 1,000 kWh.  TECO’s $193 million in estimated fuel savings from the solar projects and its PSC-approved tax reform savings will partially offset that increase.

TECO’s first phase solar projects, Payne Creek and Balm—totaling 145 MW—were approved by the PSC in May 2018.  TECO’s second phase solar projects, Lithia, Grange Hall, Peace Creek, Bonnie Mine, and Lake Hancock—totaling 260 MW—were approved in October 2018.  TECO’s PSC-approved 2017 settlement agreement froze its base rates until January 1, 2022, but allowed the company to recover the costs of added solar generation.

TECO serves more than 750,000 customers in Hillsborough, Polk, Pinellas, and Pasco counties.