Full House Hears Shumaker’s Comments on Emerging Florida Solar Market

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In Atlanta, Georgia, on May 11, 2017, at Solar Power Southeast in the Doing Business in Florida seminar, a panel of participants in each of Florida’s three solar market segments—residential, commercial, and utility-scale—discussed market and regulatory milestone achievements in the Florida market. Tim Hughes discussed the recent advancements in utility-scale solar development and the creative ways that developers are adding value in Florida’s traditionally restrictive regulatory environment. Continue reading “Full House Hears Shumaker’s Comments on Emerging Florida Solar Market”

Florida Legislature Exempts Solar Equipment from Property Tax

On Thursday, May 4, 2017, the legislature enrolled a bill for the governor’s signature regarding renewable energy devices, such as solar panels, exempting 80% of their taxable value from county ad valorem taxation.[1] Florida law already provides a 100% exemption for residential solar installations. This bill, however, addresses non-residential solar installations, such as commercial rooftop installations and utility-scale solar farms. Continue reading “Florida Legislature Exempts Solar Equipment from Property Tax”

Here’s a Look at What We’re Reading Today

Tampa is a “Solar Builder” among U.S. Cities

Tampa is No. 1 among U.S. cities with a history of solar energy leadership and those that have recently experienced significant solar energy development, according to a new report from the Environment America Research and Policy Center.

Statements on Florida House Bill 1351 on Solar Property Tax Exemption

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – House Bill 1351 unanimously passed the House Commerce committee today. House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, Tom Kimbis with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Scott Thomasson with Vote Solar issue the following statements in response to legislative activity in Florida . . . Continue reading “Here’s a Look at What We’re Reading Today”

Here’s a Look at What We’re Reading Today

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Are Florida Voters Getting Burned by Lawmakers on Last Year’s Solar Amendment?

TALLAHASSEE — A bill moving through the Florida House to implement the August ballot initiative by giving tax breaks to businesses that install solar energy panels is under fire for doing what the utility industry could not do in the last election cycle — impose impediments to rooftop solar installation. Several legislators of a committee expressed reservations and members of the solar industry warned that a long list of “consumer protections” in the bill will actually serve to keep legitimate companies from doing business in Florida.

Making Solar Big Enough to Matter

Solar energy has become big business. Over the past decade it has plummeted in cost, surged in volume, and, as booming industries do, benefited some investors and burned others. The International Energy Agency has predicted photovoltaic solar could provide up to 16 percent of the world’s electricity by mid-century — an enormous increase from the roughly 1 percent that solar generates today. But for solar to realize its potential, governments will have to grow up too. They’ll need to overhaul their solar policies to make them ruthlessly economically efficient. The widespread view that solar power is a hopelessly subsidized business is quickly growing outdated. . . .  Continue reading “Here’s a Look at What We’re Reading Today”

Florida Power & Light Company Names Eight New Utility-Scale Solar Projects

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Florida Power and Light Company to pepper its service territory with several additional solar farms [1]
Referring to each 74.5-megawatt solar plant as “universal” solar, FPL recently announced that it would add four such plants to its power-generation portfolio by the end of 2017 and four more by March 2018. Last week, FPL identified them by name, county, and acreage when it added the projects to its Solar Energy Centers webpage. Continue reading “Florida Power & Light Company Names Eight New Utility-Scale Solar Projects”

Now Hiring: Are Growing Florida Solar Businesses Properly Using Restrictive Covenants to Protect Their Confidential Information?

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Ensure that your non-competition agreements with your solar employees are fully enforceable.

The solar industry is beginning to take off in the Sunshine State. Florida added 1,700 solar jobs in 2016, making it the fifth largest solar employment market in the United States according to the 2016 Solar Jobs Census, and the state is well-positioned for continued growth.

While growth in the solar industry is an overall positive trend, Florida’s solar employers should be aware of certain growing pains as they participate in this expanding market. In particular, employers should be mindful of the right (and wrong) ways to protect and preserve their valuable customer relationships and hard-won confidential information. Continue reading “Now Hiring: Are Growing Florida Solar Businesses Properly Using Restrictive Covenants to Protect Their Confidential Information?”

FMPA Solar Survey Results Reveal Opportunity for Utility-Sourced Solar

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The Florida Municipal Power Agency (“FMPA”) held a public meeting on Thursday, February 16, in which the agency shared the results of a solar survey conducted among the residential electric customers of ten of the city utilities that are FMPA members.[1]

Michael Vigeant, CEO of Great Blue Research, presented the survey results to the FMPA board. The survey found that 71.7% of surveyed residents saw the need for solar, citing solar’s environmental and economic advantages. Continue reading “FMPA Solar Survey Results Reveal Opportunity for Utility-Sourced Solar”

Florida’s Solar Market: The Sleeping Giant is Awakening

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The year 2016 was a good year for solar power, both nationally and in Florida. The total amount of installed U.S. solar power generating capacity nearly doubled in a single year from an already impressive 7.5 gigawatts of capacity added to the grid in 2015 to over 14.6 gigawatts in 2016.

Florida participated in solar power’s national success by adding 1,700 solar jobs, building utility-scale solar farms, engaging in robust commercial and industrial solar installation activity, achieving favorable outcomes on two constitutional referenda, and positioning itself to make further progress throughout 2017. Florida’s solar market, which had long been a sleeping giant among U.S. solar markets, is now awakening. Continue reading “Florida’s Solar Market: The Sleeping Giant is Awakening”

Bright Year Ahead for Solar in the Sunshine State

Those who are interested in participating in the roll-out of solar power in Florida have reason to be optimistic heading into the New Year. Here are a few of the salient developments:

  • The legislature is poised to implement a commonsense property tax exemption for solar equipment;
  • National solar installers have recently been locating operations in the state; and
  • Florida utilities are taking steps to add substantial amounts of solar to their portfolios.

The United States is experiencing a record-breaking wave of solar installations, and Florida is poised to expand its participation in the new year. Continue reading “Bright Year Ahead for Solar in the Sunshine State”