Mother Earth Living

The Good Life

All things Mother Earth Living

Add to My MSN

Solar Power: Feed-In Tariffs Invigorate Gainesville

5/8/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: solar panels, solar power, Florida

As tough economic times hit the renewable energy industry, unsold solar panels are collecting dust in warehouses in many parts of the country. But in Gainesville, Florida, homes, buildings and schools are glittering with brand new panels, installed after the city passed a feed-in tariff law, requiring the power company to buy renewable energy from local producers. Since the law passed in February, Gainesville solar contractors have more work than they can handle. Paradigm Properties, a local real estate company, is installing solar panels on its main building and 50 apartment buildings in Gainesville. Another investor is installing $16 to $20 million worth of 25-kilowatt systems on 80 rented roof spaces around the city. He believes they’ll yield $1.4 million in annual earnings.  

Solar panels
Solar panels are gaining popularity in Gainesville, Florida. Photo By Powerhouse Museum/Courtesy Flickr  

Gainesville is the first U.S. city to institute a feed-in tariff, which encourages entrepreneurial investment in clean energy by guaranteeing a market. Germany implemented feed-in tariffs in 1991, and they’ve been incentive enough for German companies to dominate the green energy market. Several countries have followed suit. 

Feed-in tarrifs are an elegant solution to many issues, and Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington wants to see it work for the rest of the country—not just Gainesville. He’s introduced a bill for a federal feed-in tariff just as they’re beginning to slip into the national conversation. Toby Couture of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory told Washington Monthly that six to eight months ago many of his colleagues had never heard of the tariffs. Now, he says, 'Everyone on my team is asking, 'Why aren't we doing this?''

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here