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EGEB: Here’s some good solar news in Florida, Hawaii, and Minnesota

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • The Florida Municipal Solar Project opens two new solar farms.
  • Applications for solar in Hawaii are up 40% in 2020.
  • Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul gets a new solar energy project.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Florida’s new solar farms

Workers are finishing up the first two out of five solar sites for the Florida Municipal Solar Project, which consists of 16 electric utilities working to create one of the largest municipal-backed solar projects in the US.

The Harmony Solar Energy Center in St. Cloud and the Taylor Creek Solar Energy Center in Orange County are nearly complete, with enough energy to power around 30,000 homes. They will come online by the end of June. The other three sites are expected to be online by 2023, and power output will then increase to 75,000 homes.

The solar farms will feed energy directly into the grid.

Harmony and Taylor Creek will provide solar-powered energy to Fort Pierce, Jacksonville Beach, Key West, Kissimmee, Ocala, and Orlando. Customers will be able to choose what percentage of power they want to be solar — but they’ll have to pay a small additional charge.

Electrek’s Take: Of course the energy needs to be paid for, but we wish these utilities would stop charging more for renewable energy. We want to incentivize it, not discourage people — it saves everyone money in the long run.

Hawaii solar growth

Applications for solar in Hawaii are up 40% in 2020, according to Hawaiian Electric. Hawaii was already on track to reach the 2020 year-end goal of 30% renewable energy, so this is only going to help.

Hawaii had the highest electric cost in the US at about $0.29 per kilowatt-hour in 2019.

Households in Hawaii who install solar get a 35% tax credit up to $5,000 from the state, and a 26% federal government tax credit that drops to 22% next year.

So this may be happening because state residents want to take advantage of the higher federal tax credit, and working from home and staying in due to the pandemic is also boosting home energy consumption.

Solar for St. Paul

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota, is getting a new solar energy project from  C2 Energy Capital, LLC, a growing investor and developer in renewable energy and storage assets, and the City of St Paul. C2 owns the solar farm, and St. Paul is subscribing to it for the zoo, which is one of only three zoos in the US that has free admission. The clean energy will reduce electricity costs for the zoo’s operations.

Michelle Furrer, director of Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, said:

Conservation goes to the core of what Como is all about. We are a nationwide leader in animal and plant conservation, and by reducing the City’s overall greenhouse gas emissions we are taking another step in environmental stewardship.

This latest solar project is contributing to the Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard, which requires Minnesota utility Xcel Energy to obtain 25% of its retail sales from renewable sources by 2025.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.