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First Solar Feed-In Tariff in the US To Begin in Gainesville Florida


Alt Dot Energy
February 7, 2009


Feed-in tariffs have been responsible for the success of 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 the electricity generation and transmission infrastructure.

However that is all about to change beginning on March 1. That’s the day
residents of Gainesville, Florida with newly-installed solar photovoltaic
systems will be paid $0.32 per kilowatt hour of electricity produced by their
system when it’s added to the regional grid.

The key point here is that the feed-in tariff will guarantee payment for any
power produced over the next 20 years. But the new tariff does set a ceiling of
of 4 MW maximum on solar panel installation per year. But considering the whole
of Florida only has two megawatts currently installed, 4 megawatts in the
Gainesville area alone, is a considerable change.

Advocates of feed-in tariffs can see the immediate potential the policy can have
on growing renewable energy generation, as well as the impact it can have on the
burgeoning solar, wind, and other clean energy industries.

“This will grow the industry,” said Wayne Irwin, president of Gainesville–based
Pure Energy Solar. Irwin said his company has already seen growth in
anticipation of the new solar feed–in tariff.

States like Illinois and Michigan 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.

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.

 

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