Florida has made significant strides in solar power installations in 2023, surpassing other U.S. states. During the first half of the year, Florida added an impressive 2,499 megawatts (MW) of solar-generation capacity, surpassing California and Texas. This increase is notable as it exceeded the state’s total solar capacity installed in any previous year. These additions contribute to the record projection of 32 gigawatts (GW) of new solar capacity for the United States in 2023, which is a 52% increase over the previous year.
The growth in Florida’s solar capacity is largely attributed to utility-scale projects. Florida Power & Light (FPL) led this expansion, adding 1,769 MW, followed by Duke Energy with 389 MW. Alongside utility-scale growth, residential solar capacity also increased significantly. Homeowners contributed 332 MW of solar capacity in the first half of 2023, marking Florida as having the second-largest residential solar increase in the U.S. during this period. The number of customers participating in net metering arrangements with utilities doubled from June 2021 to June 2023, reflecting the rapid pace of rooftop solar installations in the state.
Governor Ron DeSantis played a pivotal role in supporting this growth. He vetoed legislation that would have gradually decreased the buy-back rate for customers selling excess power from their solar panels, easing financial burdens on Floridians and encouraging continued investment in solar energy. This decision was crucial in maintaining the momentum of solar energy expansion in the state.
Nationally, the solar market is expected to continue growing, with the U.S. solar industry projected to add a record 32 GW of new capacity in 2023, thanks to factors like the easing of COVID-19-related supply chain challenges, changes in restrictive trade policies, and incentives introduced by the Inflation Reduction Act. Wood Mackenzie forecasts that the total operating solar capacity in the U.S. will rise from 153 GW today to 375 GW by 2028.
This surge in solar power in Florida and across the U.S. is a significant step towards a more sustainable and renewable energy future, demonstrating the potential and effectiveness of solar energy in meeting increasing energy demands.