Tampa Electric has signed an agreement with Florida’s Office of Public Counsel, the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Industrial Power User’s Group, a consortium of hospitals, and the federal government for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants across West Central Florida.

As part of the deal, Tampa Electric plans to provide six million panels across ten new projects over the next four years. These are expected to produce enough electricity to power more than 100,000 homes.

Planning to invest around $850m in the proposed solar projects, Tampa Electric has agreed not to increase its base rates for four years.

Tampa Electric president and CEO Gordon Gillette said: “We have long believed in the promise of renewable energy, and we believe now is the time to add large utility-scale solar generation, as the costs of construction have come down and while federal tax credits remain in place.

“Emera’s philosophy is to transition power generation to lesssen carbon intensity while remaining affordable for our customers.

“This expansion in solarpower will have minimal initial rate impact and will be cheaper for customers in the long run.”

“Our customers have asked us for more solar technology and we heard them. This expansion in solarpower will have minimal initial rate impact and will be cheaper for customers in the long run.”

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In the first phase of the newly announced project, Tampa Electric plans to add two projects to produce a total of almost 150MW of energy. The first phase is scheduled to be completed by September next year.

The second phase will feature four projects totaling around 250MW. It is due to complete by January 2019, while two other phases are expected to be complete by January 2020 and 2021.

With the latest agreement, Tampa Electric also aims to move towards its goal of replacing existing radio-signal meters in homes and businesses with remotely-read metres.