Gulf Power is clearing a path for you to power your home with solar power. The Gulf Solar Energy Share program has been presented to the Florida Public Service Commission for approval. The program will give Gulf Power customers the opportunity to power their homes completely with solar energy.
"This will actually be a new, more affordable way for our customers to participate in solar without the expense of rooftop solar panels, said Natalie Smith, a Communications Specialist with Gulf Power. Smith says customers will pay an annual 99 dollar subscription fee to participate in the program. There are no addition installation or switch over fees involved. Each month, customers in the program will get a small credit on their bill, between $2.00 and $2.50 per month.
Gulf Power will be building a solar facility in Milton. That electricity will go back on the grid and offset power that would have been generated by traditional methods. The construction of the solar facility will begin as soon as the plan is approved by the Public Service Commission. The price of electricity will remain the same, you will still pay the same rate per Kilowatt and your bill will look the same, only the source of the power will have changed.
Smith says the program will be open to 2,800 customers. The utility expects the program to quickly reach the maximum number of households possible because many customers have asked for cleaner, more sustainable energy. She says programs like this are popping up all over the country. "What we've seen in our studies and in focus groups with our customers as well as the response (to other programs like this) is that customers are really (looking for) something like this to be available to them."
Natalie Smith says that if you are interested, you can go to the Gulf Power web site and fill out a form of interest. This does not commit you to anything. "It doesn't sign you up for the program, it just lets us know that you are interested in it. And as we move forward with the program, once we get approval from the FPSC, we'll let our customer know what's going on (and let) those who are interested (know) how to officially sign up for the program as soon as they can."
Gulf Power is offering this for customers who cannot generate their own solar energy, but want to be a part of the transition from fossil fuels. "If you can't afford solar rooftop, if you don't have the house that's ideal for solar panels to put on your roof, if you rent, if you live in a condo but you want to participate in solar, this is the option for you."
If the Gulf Solar Energy Share program is approved, Gulf Power is hopeful it could be up and running within a matter of months.
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