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Feed-in-tariff-The Latest Energy Trend

Orlando, Fla.-- Since Gainesville’s adoption of the country’s first solar photovoltaic feed in tariff, based on the highly successful models in Europe, many other states have followed suit.  A trend is developing in which utilities are no longer waiting for a federal or state regulation but instead taking the initiative upon themselves to diversify energy to include clean renewables.

Ed Regan, Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) assistant general manager for strategic planning, visited Germany to study European PV models prior to proposing the Gainesville program in late 2008. Regan argued that a feed- in- tariff would be more attractive to solar investors than traditional solar rebates because it guarantees that the utility will buy all of the electricity produced by the PV system at a fixed rate for 20 years offering investors a reliable and predictable source of income. GRU now offers electric customers a chance to invest in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and sell electricity directly to GRU. 

 During the first two years of the program participants which sign up will be guaranteed a fixed rate of $0.32 per kilowatt hour for 20 years. GRU estimates that investors will see a five-percent return on large-scale projects.

Since GRU’s ground breaking movement, other utility companies in multiple states have created similar feed- in – tariff incentive programs including utilities in Georgia, Washington, Vermont, California, Hawaii and Maine.