Florida May Make it Easier for Solar Grid Connection

Regulators have started to make it easier for homeowners and businesses in Florida to install solar panels and to connect to the state’s electric power grid.

TALLAHASSEE, Florida, US, 2001-10-19 [SolarAccess.com] If there is no further opposition, the new rules will allow customers to obtain rebates and a monthly credit for excess power they send back into the system. “This proposal significantly enhances solar power as an option for Florida’s consumers in meeting their growing energy needs and, additionally, the state benefits from greater use of a clean, renewable supply source,” says Leon Jacobs, chairman of the Public Service Commission. The new rules set standards for PV roof panel systems up to 10 kilowatts of capacity. Owners can connect to a Florida utility by providing proof of US$100,000 in liability insurance instead of the $1 million insurance which utilities had been demanding. The average home installs 2 kW systems that cost from $16,000 to $24,000, and meet one-third to one-half of the home’s energy needs, according to the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa. Next month, Florida utilities will file agreements giving details on how customers can connect their PV systems to the grid and suggest fees that should be charged. Customers will have to submit certification that the panels are installed by a certified contractor and will have to pay for a manual disconnect switch that allows a power company to take the solar panels off the grid. Most inverters have safety cut-offs built in, but there is a growing movement in the United States of ‘inverter guerillas’ who use their inverters unofficially to slow their electricity meter readings, even if they get no credit for the electricity they supply back to the grid.
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