Gainesville Reaches 4 MW in Solar Reservations

Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) has announced that it has reached its first year solar PV reservation target with a groundbreaking feed-in tariff. The Florida municipal utility will continue accepting reservations for an additional 4 megawatts (MW) in 2010 on a first come first serve basis.

Gainesville’s program went live on March 1. The 2009 solar PV tariff of $0.32/kWh for twenty years will remain in effect for 2010 reservations.

GRU’s press release announcing the milestone gave no indication how much of the 4 MW in signed contracts they expect will be built in 2009. However, John Crider, one of the program’s designers, said he’s “expecting all 4 MW to be built in the next seven months, and if for any unforeseen circumstance any of the projects are withdrawn from the queue, the available capacity will immediately be transferred to the next project in line.”

The Gainesville muni’s program has generated interest all across the state. The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports that an unusual alliance between a liberal Democrat and a conservative Republican are working on a statewide feed-in tariff policy.

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Paul Gipe  is an author, advocate, and analyst of the renewable energy industry. He has written extensively about the subject for the past four decades, receiving numerous  awards  for his efforts. Gipe has lectured before groups from Patagonia to Puglia, from Tasmania to Toronto, and from Halifax to Husum. He has spoken to audiences as large as 10,000 and as small as a private presentation for Vice President Al Gore. Gipe is well known for his frank appraisal of the promise and pitfalls of wind energy, including his stinging critiques of Internet wonders and the hustlers and charlatans who promote them. He led the campaign to adapt electricity  feed laws  to the North American market—the same policy that has stirred a renewable energy revolution in Germany. His most recent book,  Wind Energy for the Rest of Us , introduces Germany’s electricity rebels to a North American audience for the first time. The book, Gipe’s seventh on wind energy, debunks novel wind turbines, rebukes revisionist historians, and argues that renewable energy is too important to be left to electric utilities.

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