Gainesville Regional Utilities will become the nation’s first utility to offer a feed-in tariff for generation of electricity from solar photovoltaic energy. Starting on March 1, the Florida municipal utility will sign new power purchase agreements for up to 4 MW per year. Sellers with a building- or pavement-mounted installation will receive a guaranteed fixed rate of 32¢ per kilowatt-hour for 20 years. The rate for a free-standing installation will be 26¢ per kWh. GRU has a program offering a rebate of $1.50 per installed watt, with up to 14¢ per kWh paid for excess power sold back to the utility, a system called "net metering." But the utility felt the feed-in tariff would offer sellers a better return on investment, encouraging faster growth in solar PV. GRU also estimates that installing 4 MW of PV panels will generate $24 million of revenue for solar contractors and designers, says Edward J. Regan, assistant general manager for strategic planning. In Germany, a federal feed-in tariff has made the country the leading PV installer, with more than 3,830 MW, according to the Worldwatch Institute.
Creative Pricing by Florida Utility Hopes To Expand Solar Market
February 11, 2009