According to a recent article in the St Petersburg Times, there is little incentive in Florida to move forward on developing more solar energy, especially if you are not one of the big utility companies.
After two years of lobbying, Florida's largest electric utilities will likely be allowed to raise customer rates by as much as $2 a month to pay for renewable energy production and essentially control the solar energy market. According to two bills moving through the Florida Legislature, this increase could come about without having to go through normal regulatory controls.
Unlike 39 other states, Florida has no set targets for the production of renewable energy - solar, wind, biomass. And unlike other states, Florida does not provide opportunities for competition by directing public utilities to buy consumer-generated energy at a competitive price.
The refusal of the state's largest utilities to allow for distributed generation — the ability of homeowners and commercial companies who produce excess electricity to sell it back to the electricity grid at a competitive price — stifles competition.
So, for example, there is not only no incentive for big-box retailers to invite solar energy companies to install rooftop solar panels and sell the energy, in most parts of the State, it can't be done.
A proposal in the Florida Senate to include a provision that would open the market to renewable energy competitors was quickly discarded when FP & L expressed strong opposition.
Asking ratepayers to pay a little more for a major expansion of renewable energy is appropriate when there are guaranteed targets and a competitive pricing schedule for all such energy producers. Florida has established neither.