Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Largest Photovoltaic Solar Plant in North America Opens Today in Florida

The largest photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in North America opens today in DeSoto County, Florida.

When fully ramped up, the solar power plant's 90,000 panels will follow the sun and churn out 25 MW of power daily.

But dark clouds on the horizon dim the solar plant's future. Florida has no renewable portfolio standard, hence no requirement that power companies produce a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, or a formula to set rates for such electricity.

That means solar power must compete for customers on the same footing as conventional power. Which makes it almost inevitable that solar plants like this one will not survive, because solar power is way too expensive.

The money to build the DeSoto county solar power plant came from a one-time customer rate increase that the Florida legislature authorized. There's no legislative backing for a rate measure that would keep the plant economically viable.

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