Private Solar Provider
Lakeland Electric, a municipal utility in Florida, offers solar-heated domestic hot water on a "pay-for-energy" basis. The utility bills the customer $34.95 per month regardless of use. 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.
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