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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Lakeland Electric - Solar Water Heating Program   

Last DSIRE Review: 02/12/2015
Program Overview:
State: Florida
Incentive Type: Other Incentive
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat
Applicable Sectors: Residential
Funding Source:Private Solar Provider
Start Date:June 2010
Web Site:

Lakeland Electric, a municipal utility in Florida, is the nation's first utility to offer solar-heated domestic hot water on a "pay-for-energy" basis. The utility has contracted with a solar equipment vendor to install solar water heaters on participating customers’ homes. Lakeland Electric bills the customer $34.95 per month regardless of use. Each solar heater is metered and equipped with a heating element timer as a demand management feature. The $34.95 monthly charge is a bulk energy purchase. The water heater is owned and maintained by the vendor. The utility provides program policy management, meter reading, billing and collection services. Residents must live in the Lakeland Electric service territory, and all candidate homes are subject to a site inspection to determine suitability.

Lakeland Electric plans to deploy up to 10,000 solar water heaters, producing the thermal equivalent of about 20,000 megawatt-hours per year upon full build-out. Interested customers can enroll directly at the Solar Lakeland web site.

The program serves as an incentive to residential customers to utilize solar energy by:

  • making solar energy affordable to all households
  • eliminating up-front equipment expenditures and maintenance costs;
  • locking in a portion of the customer’s energy costs; that is, a portion of their energy costs are exempt from fuel charge increases
  • reducing standby losses when the water heater is not in use (typically ~ 15% of the energy consumption of a conventional hot water heater), thereby further reducing energy costs
  • reducing the environmental impact of energy usage

The program benefits the utility by:

  • managing electricity demand
  • decreasing transmission and distribution losses because the solar energy is generated at the point of use;
  • diversifying its resource base
  • reducing environmental impact from its operations
  • improving public relations by offering a renewable energy program
  • acquiring all green attributes associated with renewable energy

* Lakeland Electric retains ownership of all green attributes associated with the solar thermal energy produced by the systems. In 2004, Lakeland Electric became the first utility to sell RECs derived from solar water heating systems through a national REC marketer.

  Jeff Curry
Lakeland Electric
501 E. Lemon St.
Lakeland, FL 33801
Phone: (863) 834-6853
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.