By Ivan Penn, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Ask state lawmakers why Florida doesn’t focus more on solar energy and they’ll complain about too many clouds.
So with little political will to aggressively tap the sun, Florida now lags behind other not-as-sunny places such as Massachusetts, Ohio, New York and New Jersey in developing more solar capacity.
New Jersey installed the most new solar in the first quarter of 2012, according to a report released Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association. Florida ranked 14th.
The difference was huge. New Jersey added almost 174 megawatts from January to March. At that rate, the state would add the equivalent of a mid-sized nuclear reactor to its electrical capacity by the end of the year. Full Story…
ST. PETERSBURG – A consortium of German and Austrian solar energy businesses eyeing the city as a site for equipment manufacturing and a solar farm also are contemplating partnering with businesses that own multiple rooftops.
Depending on final decisions, the consortium would provide multiple new business opportunities for contractors, vendors, installers and other businesses related to solar energy.
The group toured St. Petersburg last summer as part of its due diligence in determining whether the city and Pinellas County are potentially lucrative locations for its technology and plants.
“They’re looking to come back in the not too distant future to …Full Story
Extending program will drive U.S. solar industry growth and job creation in 2011
WASHINGTON, DC – Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA®) President and CEO Rhone Resch released the following statement today applauding the Senate’s inclusion of a one-year extension of the Department of Treasury Section 1603 program in their tax bill compromise:
"The 1603 tax credit has created flexibility for funding renewable energy projects and is fundamental for keeping the solar industry growing in America. To date, the program has facilitated the construction of more than 1,100 solar projects in 42 states. At a minimal cost to the tax payer, the 1603 program has supported $18 billion in investment in new renewable energy projects throughout the country and has created tens of thousands of jobs. Plain and simple, this program provides the greatest return on taxpayer dollars. The program has allowed the solar industry to grow by over 100 percent in 2010, create enough new solar capacity to power 200,000 homes and double domestic solar employment to more than 93,000 Americans. This program has created new opportunity for electricians, plumbers, and construction workers during the worst economic climate since the great depression.
"An extension of the program will keep our U.S. industry growing and help achieve the industry’s goal of installing enough new solar energy to power 2 million new homes each year by 2015. None of this would be possible without the tireless leadership of solar’s champions on Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle. In particular, Senators Cantwell, Feinstein, Ensign and LeMieux stepped up to support American jobs in the renewable energy industry and helped convince the Senate to include this provision in the final bill.
"But this is not over yet. Congress must now move swiftly to pass this compromise bill and keep solar working for America."
The TGP was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Section 1603) to provide commercial solar installations with a cash grant in lieu of the 30 percent solar investment tax credit (ITC). President George W. Bush signed the 8-year ITC into law in 2008, but the economic conditions created by the global recession made it clear that few would be able to utilize the tax credit.
So far, the TGP has helped move forward more than 1,100 solar projects in 42 states. A report on the impact of the extension of the TGP by EuPD Research projected it would create 65,000 new U.S. jobs and 5,100 megawatts of solar capacity – enough to power more than 1 million households.
SEIA policy overview of Treasury Grant Program: http://seia.org/cs/federal_issues/treasury_grant_program
Fact sheet on TGP and job creation: http://www.seia.org/galleries/FactSheets/Factsheet_TGP.pdf
Summary of solar projects awarded a Treasury Grant: http://www.seia.org/galleries/pdf/TGP_Awards.pdf
EuPD Research "Economic Impact of the Extension of the TGP": http://seia.org/galleries/pdf/EuPD_Research_Solar_Report.pdf
The Solar Foundation National Solar Jobs Census 2010: http://www.thesolarfoundation.org/sites/thesolarfoundation.org/files/Final%20TSF%20National%20Solar%20Jobs%20Census%202010%20Web%20Version.pdf
SEIA and GTM Research US Solar Market InsightTM Executive Summary: http://seia.org/galleries/pdf/SEIA_Q2_2010_EXEC_SUMMARY.pdf
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA is working to build a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. www.seia.org
SEIA President & CEO Rhone Resch is on Twitter. SEIA is on YouTube and Facebook.
Solar Energy Industries Association
575 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
The New Programs, to Be Available to Customers in the First Quarter of 2011, Include $1.5 Million in Incentives Tampa Electric Will Offer Each Year for Five Years to Help Customers Install Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Systems and Solar Water Heating
TAMPA, Fla., Dec 01, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Tampa Electric received approval yesterday from the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) to expand its current lineup of energy-efficiency programs for customers. In addition to the new programs and enhancements to existing programs, $1.5 million in incentives will be offered by Tampa Electric each year for five years to help customers install renewable technologies. Those measures include:
Residential Solar Water Heating — Provides customer incentives up to $1,000 for installing new solar water heating systems. Solar PV Systems — Provides incentives to customers who install PV systems at their homes or businesses. PV for Schools — Tampa Electric will install five 10-kilowatt (kW) systems with battery backup power (one school per year over five years) at schools that also can function as emergency shelters. The PV technology will provide educational opportunities to teachers and students. Low-Income Solar Water Heating — Solar water heating systems will be available for installation on new construction in collaboration with nonprofit building organizations.
The new programs should be available to customers in first quarter of 2011. The availability of these incentives is limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations will be accepted online at tampaelectric.com.
"Saving energy is important to our customers during these challenging economic times," said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas. "In designing these new programs, we considered the growing interest community leaders and small and large customers have in renewable technologies, energy conservation and, smart and efficient-energy management equipment and systems. These new and enhanced programs can help customers lower their energy bills."
The FPSC also approved the company’s plans to add new features or enhancements to its existing residential and commercial energy conservation programs, including:
For residential customers:
Free Energy Audits — An inspection of customers’ homes that identifies areas where they may be wasting valuable energy. The company provides three convenient audits (Online, Phone-Assisted and In-Home). Each type of audit includes a free pack of energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Heating and Cooling — Pays an incentive up to $400 to encourage the installation of high-efficiency heating and cooling systems in existing dwellings. Ceiling Insulation — Pays an incentive up to $350 when new insulation is added; up from the previous incentive of $200. Window Replacement/Upgrades — Pays an incentive of $2.65 per square foot with no maximum; the previous maximum amount was $350. Window Film — Pays an incentive up to $2 per square foot with no maximum; an increase from the previous $1 per square foot with a $200 maximum. Wall Insulation — Pays an incentive of $0.31 per square foot with no maximum; up from the previous $200 maximum for all exterior walls. HVAC Maintenance Program — A new program that pays an incentive up to $75 for maintenance and tune-up of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment to ensure operation at optimal efficiency. HVAC Motor Replacement Program — A new program that pays an incentive up to $135 for installing a more energy-efficient motor in an existing air handler.
For business customers:
Free Energy Audits — A free program designed to increase awareness of energy use, includes a free pack of energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Commercial Lighting — Offers an increased incentive of $175 per kilowatt (kW) for lighting upgrades, as well as $25 for each exit sign upgrade to LED technology. Commercial Cooling — Increased incentives for installing high-efficiency cooling systems in existing dwellings. Commercial Duct Repair — Pays an incentive of $350 for the repair of leaking duct systems; up from the previous level of $200. Chiller Program — Increased incentives to $175 per kW for replacing inefficient cooling equipment with higher efficiency equipment. HVAC Maintenance Program — A new program that pays an incentive up to $25 per ton of costs for maintenance and tune-up of HVAC equipment to ensure operation at optimal efficiency. Standby Generator — Pays an increased incentive of $4 per kW for utilization of a customer’s emergency generation capacity during peak periods. Commercial Energy-Efficient Motors — Pays an incentive of $6 per horsepower for energy-efficient motor upgrades. Occupancy Sensors — Offers $25 per sensor installed to control indoor lights and reduce energy costs. Electronically Commutated Motors — A new program that pays an incentive up to $180 per horsepower to retrofit and/or replace inefficient evaporator motors for HVAC or refrigeration equipment. Roof Insulation — A new Building Envelope program that pays $0.15 per square foot of insulation. Ceiling Insulation and Wall Insulation — Two existing programs available as part of the Building Envelope program will offer increased incentives. Energy Recovery Ventilation — A new program that pays an incentive for installing an energy-recovery ventilation system designed to reduce indoor humidity. Cool Roof — A new program that pays an incentive up to $0.60 per square foot for the installation of a cool roof system designed to reduce heat transfer. Commercial Load Management — Increased incentives for allowing Tampa Electric to control operation of air conditioning or specialized equipment during critical energy-use periods.
Low-Income Program Enhancements
Tampa Electric’s existing Low-Income program will receive additional weatherization measures, such as free insulation and duct repair. The company will work closely with established organizations, such as the Centre for Women, to identify and mass-deliver free and low-cost energy-efficiency measures to qualifying neighborhoods throughout the company’s service area.
In addition, Tampa Electric also will partner with neighborhood service centers to offer free energy-efficient packages to low-income residents who qualify for assistance with their energy costs. The packages will include energy-saving light bulbs, air filter change reminders, faucet aerators, hot water temperature check cards and more.
The company began its conservation program initiatives in the late 1970s, prior to any federal or state energy conservation requirements. From 1979 through 2009, Tampa Electric has performed more than 390,000 energy audits and paid almost 385,000 incentives and rebates to customers who have participated in Tampa Electric’s conservation programs — offsetting the need to generate enough electricity to serve more than 683,800 average-size homes over a 12-month period.
Learn more about Tampa Electric’s energy-saving programs online:
In 1999, the company installed an 18,000-watt solar panel array at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. Additional installations include a 4,000-watt solar panel array at Walker Middle School in Odessa; a 7,000-watt solar panel array at Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach; a 10,500-watt solar panel array at Middleton High School in Tampa; a 15,000-watt photovoltaic array at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo; and a 10,000-watt photovoltaic array at the Florida Aquarium. The energy generated by these arrays helps to serve the customers participating in Tampa Electric’s Renewable Energy program and reduces the need for energy from non-renewable sources.
Tampa Electric offers a Renewable Energy program that makes it easy for customers to purchase a portion of their electricity from renewable sources by signing up for $5 blocks of renewable energy. For each block purchased, Tampa Electric will distribute 200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy.
As of the end of July 2010, Tampa Electric customers are purchasing approximately 3,750 blocks of renewable energy each month. This is equal to offsetting 750,000 kWh or 641 tons of carbon dioxide monthly — the same as removing 80 cars from the road for one year.
Tampa Electric customers, including organizations, also can purchase renewable energy to power one-time events at a convention center, hotel, stadium or other location. Participation in the company’s Renewable Energy program helps support technologies that create more energy from Florida renewable sources.
For more information on Tampa Electric’s Renewable Energy program, visit tampaelectric.com/renewable.
Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. (TE 17.00, -0.04, -0.24%) , an integrated energy-related holding company with regulated utility businesses, complemented by a family of unregulated businesses. Tampa Electric Company is a regulated utility with both electric and gas divisions (Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System). Other subsidiaries are engaged in coal, and electric generation and distribution in Guatemala.
SOURCE: Tampa Electric
CONTACT: Katie Hayden or Robert Weissert
850-222-5052, ext. 18
Floridians ready to embrace renewable energy to attract high-tech industry and new jobs TaxWatch survey reveals public support for moving energy policy forward Tallahassee- According to a statewide scientific poll conducted for Florida TaxWatch, an overwhelming majority of Floridians want their elected leaders to take action to increase renewable energy production in Florida – and many are willing to pay for nominal increases in their monthly utility bills to do so.
The bipartisan poll by McLaughlin & Associates and Anzalone-Liszt surveyed 800 Florida voters who are utility customers, representing a statistically significant cross-section of the public. The survey’s findings show that more than 80 percent of Floridians support their elected leaders taking action to increase renewable energy production in Florida, and more than 70 percent of Floridians believe that paying a dollar or more on their monthly utility bill is reasonable for renewable power generation. Full Article…
We hope you enjoy the tour and learning how solar is working for America and how it can work for you, too. Follow the Solar Generation USA Road Trip team and learn more about solar at www.solargenerationusa.org!
~Financing provides Florida homeowners, businesses with incentives, generates jobs~
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Joseph Agostini
April 26, 2010 (850) 488-1993
P.A.C.E. FINANCING BOLTS THROUGH HOUSE
~Financing provides Florida homeowners, businesses with incentives, generates jobs~
TALLAHASSEE– House Majority Leader Adam Hasner (R-Delray Beach) commended Energy & Utilities Policy Committee Chairman Steve Precourt (R-Orlando) on his successful passage of PACE – Property Assessed Clean Energy – financing that could be utilized to help Florida consumers and businesses pay for retrofitting their properties with clean technology at no cost to taxpayers. The projects generated by these private sector clean energy improvements hold the promise of green job creation for Florida’s economy. PACE, also known as House Bill (HB) 7179, passed the House.
“At a time when we are focused on jump-starting Florida’s economy, PACE provides a no-cost to taxpayers, no-mandate, consumer opt-in approach to bringing clean energy technology to homeowners and businesses. PACE will help create jobs for Floridians at a critical time when we are working to get Florida’s economy back on track,” said Leader Hasner. “The biggest challenge most Florida homeowners face is paying the upfront costs to retrofit their homes with energy improvements. PACE presents a commonsense, innovative policy initiative that will remove this significant financial burden for homeowners and allow them to buy solar panels and implement energy efficiency in their homes.”
In today’s economy, few homeowners and commercial property owners have the upfront capital to invest in retrofitting their homes or buildings to take advantage of the advances in clean energy technologies and the possible cost savings obtained from those improvements. Improvements may include storm proofing of homes. PACE bonds present an innovative, no-taxpayer subsidy approach to financing those individual clean energy projects on a large scale.
How PACE Works: PACE bonds are issued by a municipality or special district and backed by property tax liens on the buildings of owners who take PACE loans from the bond pool. The property owner repays the loan over a 10, 15 or 20-year period through an increase on their annual property taxes equal to one-twentieth of the loan plus interest. For many home and business owners, the annual energy cost savings they will realize from the retrofitting will exceed the cost of the annual repayment costs.
PACE financing was named by the Harvard Business Review as one of the “Breakthrough Ideas for 2010.” It has the potential to result in significant green job creation for Florida at no cost to taxpayers – only real estate owners who opt in will pay the cost of the improvements.