Bioenergy, Solar, Storage

Florida Governor Proposes Energy Initiatives

Just days after President George W. Bush delivered the State of the Union Address, the President’s brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced a statewide proposal of his own that would provide a variety of grants, rebates and tax incentives for hydrogen and renewable energy technologies for the Sunshine State.

Called the 2006 Florida Energy Act, this $30 million four-year comprehensive plan provides rebates, grants and tax incentives to promote a more balanced energy portfolio by increasing Florida’s investment in renewable energy sources such as solar, biofuels and hydrogen. According to the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA), proposed funding in the Governor’s 2006-07 budget will provide the following: — $10 million for development and technology demonstration grants for all renewable energy sources — $2.5 million to provide rebates for consumer purchases of Energy Star Appliances — $2.5 million to provide rebates for solar technologies — $5 million for transportation sales tax exemptions and corporate income tax credits for hydrogen vehicles and clean fuel fueling stations — $2.5 million for sales tax exemptions and corporate income tax credits for hydrogen fuel cells used for supplemental and backup power — $7.5 million for sales tax exemptions and corporate income tax credits for biodiesel and ethanol production. In addition to the Governor’s proposal, a bill has been filed by Representative Dorothy Hukill (R-New Smyrna Beach) that would establish a Solar Energy Development Fund & Photovoltaic Incentive Program. FlaSEIA says the bill “still needs some work” but it includes an initial $4 per watt rebate on a PV system. That would decrease by $.50 per watt each year for five years. The maximum rebate would be $20,000 on a residence and $100,000 on a commercial or public building. The bill also establishes a fund to support the development of a solar energy product market in the state. The funding level would be at $1.2 million for five years. FlaSEIA is working with the sponsor to add a $750 solar thermal rebate to the bill, and if the solar equipment is manufactured in the state it would be set at $1000.