Progress Energy’s installed solar capacity reaches 1,000 KW
Submitted by Robby Douglas
ST. PETERSBURG, – The solar photovoltaic (PV) generation systems dotted across Progress Energy Florida’s service territory are relatively small individually.
But earlier this month, the total capacity from these customer- and utility-owned solar systems reached 1,000 kilowatts (1 megawatt).
"This milestone is significant because it represents real solar power interconnected with the electricity grid and is the result of years of collaboration with our customers," said Jeff Lyash, president and chief executive officer of Progress Energy Florida. "We believe that cost-effective, reliable solar power will play an important role in our balanced strategy to address the challenge of global climate change."
The milestone was achieved with the interconnection of a customer-owned 60-kilowatt (kW) solar PV system in Oviedo on March 9. There are more than 140 residential and commercial customer-owned solar PV systems interconnected to Progress Energy Florida’s electric grid. They range in size from 1.2 kW to 60 kW and most were installed since 2004. Interconnection agreements allow these customers to sell any excess generation from these systems back to the utility to serve other customers. For more information on selling renewable energy to Progress Energy Florida, please visit www.progress-energy.com/renewables.
In addition to the customer-owned PV systems, Progress Energy Florida sponsors more than 20 solar PV projects around its service territory. This includes 14 solar PV arrays installed at schools as part of the SolarWise for Schools and SunSmart Schools programs, which provide students with interactive learning opportunities to explore alternative energy sources. These school solar systems have a total capacity of 40 kW.
The company is aggressively pursuing new large-scale solar opportunities that make sense for customers and the state. Current solar technology is limited by high cost and intermittent generating capability. The company expects to sign large-scale renewable energy contracts in the future, as the technology continues to develop, and as state leaders determine the state’s policy on renewable energy.
Progress Energy Florida is actively working to make renewable energy more cost-effective and reliable. For example, one project that will help unlock the full potential of intermittent renewable technologies is the Sustainable Electric Energy Delivery System, or S.E.E.D.S., partnership with the University of South Florida’s Power Center for Utility Explorations.
Two solar arrays are installed – one on the USF St. Petersburg campus and the other in Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg – and the output of these solar arrays is stored in an advanced battery system known as a Vanadium Redox Battery Energy Storage System. The stored solar energy will be used to help reduce other forms of generation needed to meet peak demands during summer and winter. More information on the company’s renewable energy projects can be found at www.progress-energy.com/environment.