Gainesville Moves Rapidly To True Solar Tariff

By Paul Gipe


While others talk, Gainesville, Florida is moving steadily toward implementing a true tariff for solar photovoltaics.

On December 18, the City Commission approved a higher tariff of $0.32/kWh under Gainesville Regional Utilities’ (GRU) proposed feed-in tariff program. GRU had earlier proposed a tariff of $0.26/kWh with a 20-year contract.

Solar installers had urged GRU and the City Commission to reconsider the tariff arguing that even with the federal Investment Tax Credit, the tariff was too low to make a sufficient profit during the 20-year contract period.

The City Commission agreed and has set January 15, 2009 for the first formal reading of GRU’s proposal. They expect the policy to be formally approved March 1, 2009.

There are several utilities in the upper Midwest offering solar PV tariffs of $0.25/kWh. The programs in Wisconsin and in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula severely restrict the amount of solar PV capacity that can be installed. For example, Wisconsin Public Service’s recently approved solar PV tariff is limited to only 300 kW.

There is 300 kW of solar PV already operating in GRU’s service area. GRU has also proposed grandfathering all net-metering customers into the program once it’s underway.