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Floridians For Solar Choice – Making a Difference

Today’s blog is about one of the most exciting efforts taking place in Florida to advocate solar energy. On 6/29/2015 Goldin Solar had the pleasure of attending an information/advocacy training session hosted by the Tropical Audubon Society in the City of South Miami. It’s exciting to see the Tropical Audubon Society get behind solar. In the words of Laura Reynolds, Executive Director of the Tropical Audubon Society: “Solar energy in Florida is about water.” Reynolds points out that FPL’s Turkey Point nuclear power facility releases 600,000 lbs. of salt into our aquifer daily and exacerbates our problem of saltwater intrusion. Therefore, increased access to solar energy in Florida will reduce demand for damaging, nuclear energy.Learn more about Tropical Audubon Society here.

Appropriately, the meeting was hosted at Tropical Audubon Society’s headquarters, in South Miami’s historic Doc Thomas house, built in 1932.

Floridians for Solar Choice

Floridians for Solar Choice

The presentation was given by George Cavros, who has spent over ten years promoting clean energy policy in Florida. Now Cavros is spearheading the coalition Floridians for Solar Choice — citizen initiative to change the a law which is holding back the sunshine in The Sunshine State. Cavros states that current law in Florida regarding utilities and energy providers was written 100 years ago and is outdated. Current law states that only the assigned utilities are allowed to provide energy to customers, and it’s illegal for a third party to directly sell energy to a customer. These laws were written before it was a conceivable notion that one day home/building owners would have the means to produce their own energy.

While it’s OK for a solar provider to sell a complete system to an end user, currently it is illegal to enter a Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA). A PPA would mean, for example, that a solar provider installs a solar energy system for a home at no cost to the homeowner and charges only for the energy the system produces at an agreed price for an agreed duration of time. This type of arrangement would make the solar provider effectively act like a utility, which is not currently legal in Florida and therefore, cannot be done. To shed some sunlight on how far behind Florida is in this policy, Florida is one of just four states in the USA that does not permit PPA arrangements. The reason this is such an important initiative is that the single largest obstacle for individuals to installing solar on their properties is the upfront cost. By legalizing the PPA structure, this huge obstacle is removed and there is a new and equitable solution for people interested in acquiring solar energy, but who lack the funds for the upfront expense.

The initiative is currently collecting signatures to get on the Florida ballot. See Floridians for Solar Choice and volunteer to collect signatures.

Most importantly, sign the petition!