Florida utility says it sees grid parity for solar as early as 2017

Florida isn’t known for its solar investments despite it’s relative abundance of sun.  It’s 17th on the list of states with solar installations. But there have been some interesting ideas and leadership coming out of the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC).

Byron Knibbs, OUC vice president of sustainable services said recently that as early as 2017 he thinks solar will be as cheap as natural gas. That’s earlier than almost anything I’ve seen and part of his optimism is no doubt driven by the fact that his 5.9 megawatt test project is outperforming energy output expectations by over 10 percent, powering a hundred more homes than he’d expected.

OUC also rolled out another experimental approach, offering customers the chance to get guaranteed solar power from the grid. Within weeks the program has been fully subscribed with a waitlist. We typically see this kind of retail marketing of renewable energy to consumers in deregulated markets where there’s competition, but it’s great that a municipal utilities is taking the lead and offering such a product.