The USA, the Country of Independence...not so Energy Independent.

Florida the Sunny State, why not harness that energy?

Energy and climate change is a worldwide crisis, and each nation and community is responding differently. I am currently an intern at Boxergy. I am from the United States (East Coast). Therefore, I am most familiar with America’s response (sometimes lack of response) to the energy and climate crisis. Policy and big companies, as well as individual actions, can greatly influence the change in power sources.

Florida seems like the ideal choice for solar energy. It’s official state slogan is “the sunshine state” after all. But, even with all the sunshine that beams down on the state, it is not leading in solar power. In fact, it is far behind in solar technology.

Florida ranks third in the USA in solar potential, but 12th in solar capacity installed. But, if Florida is so great for solar, why is it not taking advantage of its good fortune?

Policy in Florida is holding the state back from being a solar energy haven. The Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of the prohibition of selling solar energy to third parties, putting the individual at an extreme disadvantage.

Another reason for the lack of solar in Florida is because the state has no goal for Renewable Energies in place.

29 states, the District of Columbia, and 3 US territories all have goals emplaced concerning solar energy. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Florida generate approximately 0.65 percent of its energy from solar energy. This amount of energy is enough to partially power 221,000 in a state with a population of 21 million. This is mad!

Residential electricity consumption in Florida averages 1,081 kWh/month, which ranks 13th in the U.S.Solar seems like the obvious choice to keep cost down. Solar energy in Florida can save a person upwards of $80,000over 25 years.

These details accounts for Florida’s slow start to solar. Despite these obstacles, Florida’s solar market has been increasing. The new motivation to pursue solar is the record-low solar PV costs, favorable laws on utility-scale solar projects, and a constitutional amendment which fixed Florida’s property tax laws on renewable energy devices.

In April 2015, Duke Energy Florida proposed to build 500MW of solar in the next ten years, this along with other companies committing to greener sources caused a rise in solar across the state.

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) projected Florida’s solar power could climb as high as providing 30%(it will probably be more) of Florida’s energy in the next 10 years.

The Sunshine State increased its solar capacity by 100% in 2017, this added 748 megawatts to the grid.

Florida Power & Light’s recently perused to help expand solar energy in the sunshine state. The company recently added a battery storage system to its Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, which is now the largest solar-plus-storage system in the United States.

The company is also building four new solar plants, that will begin contributing to the grid this year.

So, while Florida wasn’t a fierce competitor at the beginning, it is quickly catching up. Solar in utility companies are growing rapidly. Residential solar is growing, just not as quickly. Florida residence must take the opportunity to be energy independent with solar .