Florida Regulators Gut The State's Solar Programs

Florida Regulators Gut The State's Solar Programs
Lucas Braun via Wikimedia Commons

The day that pro-solar power advocates across the state had been fearing finally came this week. The state's Public Service Commission held a number of recent votes that basically knee-cap Florida's home solar-power industry. This come after pressure from the state's powerful utilities, which have been trying to edge solar advocates out of the conversation all year.

As we reported earlier this summer, public utilities like FPL and Duke successfully blocked the solar advocates from sitting in on the commission.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, after two hours of debate this week, the commission voted 3-2 to go ahead at slice the state's energy-efficiency goals by 90 percent. The commission also decided to extend the state's solar rebate program for another year into 2015 -- and then shut down the program all together.

The two measures basically were everything the utilities had on their wish-lists. The commission also voted to hand over about a billion dollars to the utilities for future power plant construction.

The argument against the rebates and efficiency goals is that is costs money. The utilities and their stooges in government mouth will say that the current solar programs are so expensive they box out poor folks -- that solar is basically another high-dollar accessory for the rich. These arguments fail to note, however, the dropping cost of solar, as well as the the fact that an infrastructure for solar needs to be set up now so everyone can enjoy it in the future.

Solar advocates are exploring whether there's a possibility for a legal challenge to the recent decision.

Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.

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