It looks like the Sunshine State just got sunnier. The solar energy movement in Florida is growing and just like homeowners are deciding to switch to renewable Florida solar power, utility companies are starting to do the same.
Earlier this month Joel Ivy, the Lakeland Electric General Manager, told commissioners that it may be time to close down one of their power generators. C.D. McIntosh Unit 3 is a coal-powered generator that has been in operation for over 40 years. It has provided power to Lakeland residents faithfully during that time. But people are starting to realize that Unit 3’s electricity, generated from fossil fuels, is growing in cost. Meanwhile the cost for Florida solar panels and other renewable energy systems is steadily decreasing.
And apparently Lakeland Electric is catching on to that. One of the replacement options is to triple their commitment of using Florida solar energy from 15 MW to 45 MW. They would also discuss switching to a natural gas-powered unit. As long as the maintenance costs didn’t outweigh the benefits, it was better to keep the generator. However, Unit 3 is approaching 40 years of service, and it seems that the costs will just be too high.
At the moment, Unit 3 is only 37 years old. Said General Manager Ivy “That’s in the sweet spot for retirement age. You can run her longer but will spend more money to keep in that sweet spot. We are also facing increasing maintenance costs.” He also commented on the national and Florida solar market. “We have a chance to change. We need to do solar in an environmentally conscious manner.”
This proposition is supported by many Florida solar activists, including the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE for short). SACE Florida Director, Susan Glickman commented “We support Manager Ivy’s recommendation to close down McIntosh Unit 3 before it becomes an even greater burden to families and businesses. We urge Lakeland decision-makers to continue to grow their innovative leadership on energy efficiency and hope they see an additional 30 MW of solar as a start, not an end.”
Sunpro Solar echoes this sentiment. Fossil fuels have been shown to be expensive, both to harvest, and refine. And ultimately, who has to pay for these rising costs? The customers, with more and more rate hikes. And as gas and coal plants start to age and become more expensive to maintain than to replace, utility companies will have to start thinking of ways to meet energy needs while also covering costs. Lakeland Electric is ahead of the game, because they’ve clearly recognized that very soon in Florida, solar power is going to be king.
If you live in the Lakeland area and would like to go green like Lakeland Electric, just call Sunpro Solar. There’s no better time to switch to solar in Florida than now! Call us today for more information!