Sunshine State: Not So Much

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL -- June 14, 2012 --

Welcome to the Sunshine State, but don’t let the name fool you. There is a lot of sun, but when it comes to solar power, the state is lagging.

A new report shows the US solar industry grew by 85 percent during the first quarter of 2012. New Jersey is leading production with Florida down the list at number 14. Kim Ross with Rethink Energy Florida says the ranking is unacceptable.

“There’s really no better place to have solar than here in the State of Florida. The reason we don’t have it is because our current politicians are hooked in the old paradigm,” said Ross.

Supporters of alternative forms of energy say the state was headed in the right direction five years ago when if offered massive rebates to people who installed solar panels on their homes. The program was so popular the state couldn’t afford to pay the rebates so the program had to be nixed.

Now Florida has a new energy policy. The director of the state Office of Energy says Florida is exploring its alterative energy options and solar is just part of the equation.

“We’re not going to pick solar has the number one technology to solve our problems. It’s going to part of an overall diverse sort of menu of options that we want to give Floridians,” said Patrick Sheehan, the director of the state energy office.

Most of the states above Florida on the solar list have a renewable energy standard, but Florida lawmakers have balked at the idea… leaving the state with nothing to shoot for.

The Florida Commissioner of Agriculture oversees the Office of Energy. He’ll hold an energy summit in Orlando this August where solar energy is expected to be a hot topic.

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