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Duke Solar Projects Get Go-Ahead

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State regulators have approved a plan by Duke Energy Florida to build three solar-power projects in Gilchrist, Highlands and Volusia counties.

The Florida Public Service Commission signed off on the plan Tuesday, with a 74.9-megawatt facility in Gilchrist County and a 45-megawatt facility in Highlands County slated to begin operating in December and a 74.5-megawatt facility in Volusia County expected to start generating power during the first quarter of 2020.

Duke will be able to recoup the costs for the projects from customers, with the amount expected to be about $32 million a year, according to the commission. The approval was an outgrowth of a 2017 base-rate settlement that allows Duke to recover solar-project costs, though the utility has to show that the projects are reasonable and cost-effective.

In April, the commission approved similar Duke projects in Hamilton and Columbia counties.

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