Even though Florida still trails behind leading solar states, the report points out how the city of Gainesville is an exception.
“Gainesville accounts for only 0.6 percent of Florida’s population, but the city accounts for 8.1 percent of the state’s total installed solar energy capacity,” said Peyton Allen, with Environment Florida. “Gainesville is a bright light in Florida’s solar future. The city is a great example of how local policies can help move state action and national action towards pollution-free solar energy”.
In 2009, Gainesville Regional Utilities became the first U.S. municipal utility to adopt a true feed-in-tariff that allows businesses and homeowners to put solar on their roofs and sell it back at a rate that allows a good return on investment. Other municipal utilities; including; Ft. Collins, Colorado; Palo Alto, California; Long Island, New York; and Los Angeles, California have followed Gainesville’s lead.
“Gainesville’s progress on solar is due to the right combination of citizen support, a forward-thinking utility staff, and an historically strong commitment by elected leaders to smart energy policy that recognizes that clean energy creates jobs,” said Pegeen Hanrahan; who was Mayor of Gainesville when Gainesville Regional Utilities adopted the feed-in-tariff. “This policy is responsible for the vast majority of installed renewable energy internationally. I am hoping the experience in Gainesville and in these other communities serves as a good model for other utilities across the country,”