Florida produces more electricity from biomass than solar, wind, and hydroelectricity combined. Burning biomass is an effective way to produce electricity, and has the added benefit of helping Florida farmers, businesses, and landfills get rid of their waste. However, biomass has its problems too. The storage and combustion of biomass generates a large amount of methane, which is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The amount of methane generated depends on the type of plant and which fuel it uses.
Natural gas is the most popular source of electricity in Florida. It has largely displaced petroleum and coal over the past 20 years. While natural gas burns much cleaner than coal, it is typically extracted from the ground through fracking, which has serious environmental consequences. Natural gas and biomass have been very helpful in Florida's fight against coal. However, other clean alternatives like solar and wind power are more sustainable for long-term electricity production.
Florida Electricity Prices
Florida residents benefit from lower electricity prices relative to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for Florida residents in November 2016 was 11.30¢ per kWh, a whole 1.45¢ below the average U.S. electricity price of 12.75¢ per kWh.
Residential electricity prices are still on the rise in Florida, though, having increased more than 30% over the past 15 years. This trend has led to higher electricity bills for Florida residents, motivating many to switch to renewable energy (i.e. go solar) to save money.
Florida Energy Mix
Net Electricity Generation By Source:
You may be wondering why solar power isn't more popular in "The Sunshine State." According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Florida has the third greatest rooftop solar potential in the nation. However, it ranks 14th in installed solar capacity. The reason is simple: Florida's state policies restrict the growth of both rooftop and utility solar installations. You can learn more about Florida solar policies here.
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016
Florida Energy Sector Employment
According to the Clean Jobs Florida report, more than 11,000 Floridians work in renewable energy. Solar energy provides more jobs than any other type of renewable energy in Florida, employing more than 7,000 people. Some of the biggest Florida renewable energy companies are Advanced Green Technologies, Peka Solar and Renewable Energy, and NextEra Energy Resources.
Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.
Florida Utility Companies
Florida has regulated electricity market, where utility companies control the entire flow of electricity from production to distribution. Some of the largest utility companies in Florida are:
Florida Power & Light (FPL)
- Subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc.
- Headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida
- Serves approximately 6.8 million Florida residents
Progress Energy Florida (Duke Energy)
- Merged with Duke Energy in 2012
- Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina
- Serves approximately 2.9 million Florida Residents
Florida Public Utilities (FPU)
- Acquired by Chesapeake Utilities Corporation in 2009
- Headquartered in Fernandina Beach, Florida
- Serves approximately 3 million Florida Residents
Arcadia's Florida Renewable Energy Services
With Arcadia’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to Florida residents:
As a Florida utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.
We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in Florida. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.
Zero-down Energy Efficient Products
Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables Florida utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.