Florida FIT Gets Industry Support

The Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA) board of directors unanimously endorsed feed-in tariffs as the most cost-effective policy tool for developing solar energy in the state on March 14, 2008.

In an email March 16, 2008, R. Bruce Kershner, FlaSEIA’s Executive Director reported on the board’s decision that “energy feed-in payments or Production Based incentives (PBI)” were the chosen vehicle for the solar industry’s policy agenda.

“These feed-in policies have proven to be the world’s most successful policy tool for delivering large quantities of renewable generation quickly. It engenders competition by allowing everyone to participate by becoming a renewable energy producer,” Kershner said in FlaSEIA’s release.

FlaSEIA’s decision to endorse feed-in tariffs is among the first by a solar energy trade association in North America. The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) endorsed the policy in 2005. Numerous other North American organizations have endorsed the policy that has been successful in developing renewable energy in Germany, France, and Spain.

The decision is part of a move toward the introduction of the Florida Renewable Energy Freedom Act that specifies technology specific tariffs, including those for rooftop and ground-mounted solar photovoltaic systems. “These policies are the tools that will get Florida to reach the Governor’s objectives of 20% of electricity production from renewable energy” said John Burges, a Florida-based energy investor.

“Florida farmers, the construction and banking sectors and local manufacturing will all benefit from the private sector investment that these policies will generate and the jobs and wealth effect that will flow,” added Burges. “These policies need no state taxpayer funding or other up front state or federal subsidies. Given the current state of the economy, this policy will give sectors, such as construction, a much need stimulus.”

Jerry Karnas, Florida Director for Environmental Defense also lauded the move. “As our nation moves forward on capping greenhouse gas emissions through enacting a federal cap & trade system,” says Karnas, “it is imperative for  Florida to get significant amounts of renewable energy production on the ground quickly through innovative polices like production-based incentives. The growth in renewables from these policies will lead to a massive economic stimulus for depressed industries in Florida like the construction sector, create numerous higher paid jobs, improve our energy security and lower the adjustment costs for the state from cap & trade.” Karnas went on to note that “what is being achieved in Germany and Europe through feed-in policies is truly remarkable and needs to be quickly implemented in Florida. As such we are delighted to see that FLASEIA, the leading solar industry association has endorsed these ideas, and hope that other industry groups will also review and quickly endorse these policies too.”  

Kershner’s FlaSEIA release can be found in the FlaSEIA Endorsement of Feed-in Tariffs or PBIPolicy Letter.

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