Even before Gainesville Regional Utilities in Florida officially launches its solar feed in tariff program, the initiative has already seen the lodging of completed applications to install grid connected solar power systems that in total will be capable of producing approximately 4 megawatts of energy – GRU’s first-year target for the solar program.
GRU modelled the their gross feed in tariff program on similar strategies that have been successful in European countries such as Germany. Under the program, the utility will buy all of the electricity produced by registered solar power systems at an initial fixed rate of USD $0.32 per kilowatt hour (AUD 50.9c) through to 2010. The program offers guaranteed payments for 20 years.
While the utility has reached its target for 2009 it will continue to accept and approve applications to fulfill the 2010 target of 4 megawatts. Construction of the successful applicants’ solar energy systems is expected to be spread across the two-year period.
GRU’s experience has by no means been an isolated case, demonstrating the incredible popularity of gross solar feed in tariff programs and their potential to rapidly increase the uptake of renewable energy in any country by home owners and businesses.
Spain recently announced a new feed in tariff program after the original initiative launched in 2007 with a goal of 400 megawatts capacity to be installed by 2010 was reached by the end of 2007. Ontario, Canada’s feed in tariff program experienced a similar response where a 10 year target of 1,000 megawatts was reached within a year.