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Fla. PSC approves cost recovery for 2 Tampa Electric solar projects

Florida regulators approved cost recovery Oct. 17 for two Tampa Electric Co. solar projects with a combined capacity of nearly 150 MW.

The Florida Public Service Commission approved cost recovery for the 74.8-MW Wimauma solar project and the 74.5-MW Little Manatee River solar facility in Hillsborough County, Fla. The projects are part of the third phase of Tampa Electric's solar expansion and are scheduled to enter service by January 2020.

Additional revenues allowed for the projects total $26.5 million, lower than the cap approved in Emera Inc. subsidiary Tampa Electric's 2017 rate agreement with consumer representatives, the PSC said in a news release.

Effective January 2020, the expected monthly increase in rates is $1.00 for an average residential customer using 1,000 kWh. The increase will be partially offset by the company's approximately $193 million fuel savings and tax reform savings.

The commission-approved 2017 settlement agreement froze the company's base rates until Jan. 1, 2022, but allowed Tampa Electric to recover costs related to added solar generation.

The first-phase solar projects include the Payne Creek and Balm facilities with a combined capacity of 145 MW. Second-phase solar projects include the Lithia, Grange Hall, Peace Creek, Bonnie Mine and Lake Hancock projects with a total combined capacity of 260 MW.

The commission approved the first phase in May 2018 and the second phase in October 2018. When the four phases of Tampa Electric's solar expansion are complete, the utility will have added 600 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity to its generation portfolio.