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The Silver Lining to No RPS
May 12, 2009
Updated June 17, 2009 (Updates are noted in italics and bold)

The Florida Legislature ended its 2009 Legislative Session on Friday, May 8.  Even though the Florida Legislature failed to adopt a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), the Florida solar industry received welcome news when our state lawmakers took advantage of federal stimulus dollars to provide much needed funding for the solar rebate program as well as other energy programs that will benefit the solar industry. 

Florida’s budget for the 2009–2010 FY was approved by the Florida Legislature on Friday, May 8, 2009. The budget will be sent to the Governor for final action. The Governor has line item veto authority on budget items. All funding provided for in the budget for renewable energy comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Absolutely no general revenue dollars were allocated.

There are two sources of money:

The Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant ($30 million), see link:

Proposed Federal Stimulus Allocation Plan – Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant.

The State Energy Program (SEP) Funds ($126,089,000), see link:

Proposed Federal Stimulus Allocation Plan – State Energy Program Funds.

SEP is broken down into:

Renewable Energy Programs – $45,000,000 (Note: Solar Loan Program is not listed in the summary but is included in the description)

Energy Efficiency Programs – $15,000,000

Energy Sector Economic Development Programs – $66,089,000

Included in the 2009–2010 FY budget were Line Items 2558, 2559A & 2561A & B.

Florida Energy and Climate Commission:

Line item 2558 Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) – Energy Conservation Initiatives – $2,752,640

Line item 2559A Energy Conservation Initiatives – American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – $9,408,000 (this funding will come from the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant)

Line item 2561A Fixed Capitol Outlay Grants and Aids – State Energy Program (SEP) – American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – $126,089,000. $5,000,000 of this line item is earmarked for the solar rebate program. The Legislative Budget Commission approved this additional funding on June 17, 2009.

Also included in this line item are the following:

Solar for Schools & Storm Shelters     SEP grant: $ 20,000,000.00

  • Targets emergency shelters that open during disasters (K–12 schools typically). Most have back up conventional generation. They want to install 10kw PV systems with battery back-up on schools throughout the state (190 sites). Schools would use the systems during operating hours, but would also use them to augment the existing back-up generators.

Solar for State Government Facilities     SEP grant: $1,000,000.00

  • Proposal is to install 125 kW PV systems on state buildings.

Solar Energy Loan Program                 SEP grant: $10,000,000.00

  • The federal government encouraged states to pursue these types of loans. The loan program would provide capital to deploy solar water heaters. It would be designed for those who cannot bear the upfront cost of solar. The loan would finance a system costing approximately $4,500 with a five year term, structured so the loan payments would not exceed the energy savings realized by installing the system. It would be a 90/10 micro loan.

There are other funding allocations as well, such as renewable grants, home energy retrofit program, shovel ready energy project grants, renewable energy sector grant program and Florida Opportunity Fund to provide seed capitol for emerging companies for clean energy technology companies.

Line item 2561B Fixed Capitol Outlay Grants and Aids – Competitive Grants to Local Governments – $18,240,960 (Florida’s share of the States portion of the EECBG is $30,401,600 of which $18,240,960 would be allocated to the smaller cities and counties.) In addition to this funding, some cities and counties will receive funding directly from the U.S. Department of Energy. They recently announced formula allocations of $138,241,800 to 17 counties, 69 cities and two tribal governments in Florida. Click here for a list of cities and counties.

Bottom line: The Governor has approved the budget and the Legislative Budget Commission approved additional funding which will provide the 2009–2010 Solar Rebate Program fiscal year with $14.4 million of funding. Applicants in the queue will receive rebates first . . . current estimate of approximately $6.4 million has been approved. This plus the other opportunities for solar are outlined above.

The following link provides information about all of the stimulus money coming to Florida: http://flarecovery.com/.

This link will take you directly to the State and Local Energy Projects: http://flarecovery.com/about/state_and_local_projects/renewable_energy.

The State Energy Plan (SEP) application is now available on the Florida Energy & Climate Commission (FECC) website. For more information on the Commission and to view the SEP application, please click here to visit the FECC website.

The Governor's Energy Office submitted their proposal to the Department of Energy (DOE) on the SEP on May 12, 2009. DOE has 60 days to review and approve the plan. The proposal for the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant must be submitted to DOE by June 12, 2009. DOE has 120 days to review and approve the plan. The Florida Energy & Climate Commission will oversee all federal funding. FlaSEIA will provide you with updates as they become available.

   
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