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Published on February 6th, 2009 | by Timothy B. Hurst

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Florida City Passes First Solar Feed-in Tariff in US

solar panels in floridaBeginning on March 1, residents of Gainesville, Florida with newly-installed solar photovoltaic systems will be able to receive $0.32 per kilowatt hour of electricity produced by their system and added to the regional grid. Yawn, right?

Wrong.

The so-called feed-in tariff will guarantee payment for any power produced over the subsequent 20 years.

For some, the feed-in tariff is a long time coming. Advocates see the immediate potential the policy mechanism can have on growing renewable energy generation, as well as the impact said growth can have on the burgeoning solar, wind, and other clean energy industries.

Feed-in tariffs have been responsible for meteoric rise in renewable energy generation and the industries supporting it in Germany, Spain, and Denmark, but they have yet to take hold in the U.S., largely because of the fragmented nature of our electricity generation and transmission.

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States like Michigan and Illinois have debated the merits of a feed-in and a national feed-in tariff was proposed by Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), but none have been passed by their respective legislatures.

Will the new Gainesville feed-in tariff be popular enough to stimulate growth in the renewable energy sector? Apparently, yes. Ed Regan, assistant general manager of strategic planning for Gainesville Regional Utilities, told the Gainesville Sun that people are “lining up” to be the first recipients of the 20-year contract.

The ordinance sets a maximum of 4 megawatts of solar per year that could take advantage of the new feed-in. But considering the state of Florida only has two megawatts currently installed, 4 megawatts in the Gainesville area alone, is significant.

Image: CC licensed by flickr user whiteafrican



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About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.



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