Oregon may be on line to be the first state to adopt a feed-in tariff, but a city in Florida has beaten them to the punch. On February 5th Gainesville’s city commissioners voted unanimously to instate a citywide feed-in tariff on solar energy production.
Similar to programs already successful in Europe, Gainesville’s plan will ensure a profit on excess renewable energy production for homeowners and businesses. Solar energy will be purchased by Gainesville Regional Utilities at $0.32/kilowatt-hour (kWh) and then sold back to citizens and businesses at just $0.12/kWh. That equals a sizable profit margin for solar energy producers, large and small.
The plan also ensures more renewable energy investment in Gainesville; which means economic growth and more quality jobs for many local residents. Members of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) have even visited Gainesville as a show of support and to congratulate them on pioneering a program similar to that which turned cloudy Germany into the global leader in solar power and could radically advance the solar industry in the United States as well.
In Germany also, feed-in tariffs began at the local level before spreading across the nation. Gainesville is getting a lot of attention for this, and not just businesses are watching. You can bet other municipalities and states will be keeping a close eye on the program, which should be online by March 1st. With Gainesville making the first step, and states like Oregon seriously considering a feed-in tariff as well, this could be the start of America’s walk into solar stardom and a firm hold on the global solar industry.