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Archive for November, 2008

The State Public Service Commission (PSC) has been delegated the task of structuring a renewable energy standard for electric utilities. Governor Crist has asked for 20% renewable by 2020. Earlier in the year, the first draft from the PSC staff would only have achieved that goal by 2041. The Commissioners didn’t accept that draft and contracted Navigant Consulting, Inc. to assess the potential for renewable energy in Florida. You can read that assessment here. On December 3rd the Commissioners will hold a hearing on the Navigant Study and vote January 9 on new rules to send to the state legislature for approval.

Navigant says the 2020 goal can be achieved using solar rooftop PV, offshore wind and a variety of biomass technologies. Navigant set up a series of scenarios describing how certain “drivers” might accelerate the transition. Higher conventional energy prices, renewable energy credits, carbon cap and trade and renewable standards could all influence the pace toward achieving a 20% goal. It’s no longer a question of whether we can achieve the objective. It only remains for the PSC to develop the rules and the legislature to enact them.

Sam Kendall

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Rooftops are the most reasonable surfaces for solar photovoltaic panels. They are the most efficient locations; line losses are virtually zero and no environmental impact statements are necessary. No fields or forests need be cleared. Many homes in suburban areas do not have shade trees and can take advantage of full sun. If the question is asked how much space will be required to supply solar energy to every home in America, the answer is every home in America. Rooftop solar distributes the energy supply over a wide area, reducing the risks associated with centrally located power plant failures or sabotage.

And now even electric utilities are incorporating rooftop installations into their supply mix. City Commissioners in Lakeland recently gave the OK for their municipal utility to start installing solar on business rooftops such as grocery stores.

Southern California Edison may have the most aggressive rooftop plan by an investor owned utility. California utilities have until 2010 to supply 20% of their electricity from renewable energy. SCE says installations on commercial rooftops such as warehouses will help them reach the goal.

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