A Sector Portrait
Florida's total power consumption: 226,172 million kilowatt hours, ranking the state third nationally, behind Texas and California
For all the news about solar and other alternatives, the state ranks 20th in the nation in its use of renewable energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, well below California, New York and Texas.
Florida’s renewables capacity is just over 1,000 megawatts statewide. Here’s how that breaks down:Thinking Locally
Florida may lag other large states in adopting alternative energy sources, but some of our cities have nationally significant alternative-energy and energy-savings programs. A few of them:
» Sarasota County has funded the largest real-time detailed energy-monitoring program in the country. A local company called Dwell Green will work with 250 homeowners and the public on evaluating device-specific energy consumption. The project is expected to ultimately generate $2 million in new business for local product and service providers that install the monitoring technology.
» Forbes magazine named Tampa one of America’s best-prepared cities for electric cars, based in part on its on its “Get Ready, Tampa Bay” program, part of a national non-profit initiative by the Rocky Mountain Institute to help cities prepare for plug-in electric vehicles. While most electric-car owners will recharge their batteries in their own garages, those living in apartments or condos may require public charging stations. Get Ready, Tampa Bay is a regional collaboration among the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, local governments, utility companies, businesses and others.
» The first solar feed-in-tariff-program in the nation, created by the city of Gainesville in 2009, sparked 500% growth of installed solar capacity in its first 18 months. Under the so-called FIT program, Gainesville Regional Utilities buys electricity generated by participants’ solar panel systems at a fixed rate for the next 20 years. The program, which is at capacity, allows for 4,000 additional kilowatt hours of capacity each year.
» Lakeland Electric now gives consumers the option to have a solar hot water system installed at their home for a flat monthly fee of $34.95. Residents pay for neither the hot-water heater nor the installation.