Florida Cutting Back on Solar Power Targets
Oh, the irony. The “Sunshine State” is doing away with its solar rebate program at the end of next year.
We just spoke with solar installation companies in Florida, and the rebates are still in effect for 2015 – so it’s a great year to go solar. What’s particularly sad is that Florida is ranked as the 3rd best state to go solar in, and many of the local companies have been around for decades – proving that Florida really is the Sunshine State!
But the long-term outlook looks bleak. Think Progress reports that Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to cut targets for energy efficiency and get rid of a solar rebate program. Based off proposals from utility companies like Tampa Electric, Florida Power & Light, and Duke Energy Florida, the solar rebate program is set to end by next year.
Some commissioners were unhappy with the decision, stating that reducing energy efficiency goals was not the direction they wanted. “It is a policy and it is a statement, as a state, of what our energy policies are,” said Commissioner Lisa Edgar, who also added this decision was, “not the direction I want to go in.”
However, Mark Bubriski, director of public affairs for Florida Power & Light, told ThinkProgress the solar rebate program was a pilot program that was not cost effective and was set to expire anyway.
“[We have] a strong record of both delivering energy-efficiency programs for customers and advancing solar energy in Florida. We love solar energy, and we, along with our customers, believe solar should play an increasing role in Florida’s energy mix in the years ahead. That’s why we’re working on multiple ways to help make that happen,” said Bubriski.
New goals are to increase solar energy efficiency so that more customers can take advantage of solar panels, not just a handful. That said, Florida doesn’t have much of a renewable portfolio standard. Compared to other states in the area like Georgia, states in the West with plentiful sunshine like Arizona and California, or northeastern states like New York, Florida’s commitment to solar has been spotty at best. Solar advocates have long pushed for Florida to focus on cleaner energy sources like solar, and for the state to adopt renewable, energy-friendly policies.
So what’s it going to take for the Sunshine State to live up to its name? Only time will tell.