Thursday, June 3, 2010

Floridians Are Demanding Renewable Energy

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) released statistics early last week showing that 1,590 customers owned renewable energy systems in 2009, a three fold increase from 2008.  A majority of the systems were solar photovoltaic panels though notably there were eight customers with wind turbines and one with an anaerobic digester.  For an example of anaerobic digestion being used in FL, check out Sigarca's project in Ocala, FL.  In total, FL customers contributed 13 MW of renewable energy to the state in 2009, a small number at first but a relatively large jump from 2008.  The PSC cites policy as the main reason why more customers are buying into renewable power, including net metering programs and expedited interconnection agreements with Florida utilities.
The study didn't cite which cities and counties most of the projects are based.  This would be valuable information to understand which local policies are more effective at encouraging renewable energy system installation.  Another factor the PSC failed to mention was the influence of state subsidies on the purchase of solar panels.  We will have to wait for 2010 statistics to see if numbers change without solar incentives.  The recent PACE legislation (HB 7179) passed by Florida in late May will not have any effect on renewable energy systems this year.   While many cities and counties are interested in establishing energy loan programs, many are not likely to launch until late 2010 or early 2011.

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