By Ann H. Dubin
While there is ample potential for solar energy expansion in a place like Florida, current policies do not necessarily encourage the technology. For example, Florida has no renewable portfolio standards (RPS), nor are power purchase agreements (PPAs) allowed that might open up the solar market. In the August statewide primary, voters did approve Amendment 4, a non-controversial measure that extends tax abatements for residential solar users to commercial users, as well. But barriers remain, such as high insurance premiums for those who install solar. Duke Energy, the state’s second-largest utility, requires a $1,000,000 insurance policy for private solar users generating more than 10 kilowatts. In short, the state lacks an RPS that might spur solar development; PPAs that might make it easier for consumers to afford solar are prohibited; and despite tax abatements, insurance policies for solar installers are a steep price to pay. Thus, even though the opportunity is there, Florida lags behind other states, such as Nevada, with similar solar capacity.