Gainesville, Florida Sees Massive Increase in Solar Power Usage

photo of a bungalow with solar panels on the roof 

Solar power is proving to have a ton of different applications, allowing us to continue to have a technologically advanced way of life, while reducing our burden on the planet. People have installed solar garage doors and water heaters, use solar powered gadget chargers, and more. One city is taking the solar movement to the next level, and is now the solar capital of the United States.

Most people would think that this city must be in California, but they would be wrong. The city quickly ramping up their solar electrical generation capacity is a medium sized Florida city called Gainesville.

Many wonder how they did it when many cities around the country are scrambling to figure out how they are going to handle the expected increase in demand for electricity in the coming years.

Part of the reason that Gainesville has seen such strides is through the use of a “feed-in-tariff” (which is similar to net metering.)

What this is, essentially, is a way to add electrical generation capacity without actually building new facilities. People who have solar panels on their homes can now generate extra income by receiving cash for the energy they feed into the grid. Through this process, excess energy produced by people with home solar capacity is fed back into the system and can be used to help meet demand. The owners of the power are paid for each kilowatt of energy that they produce for the overall grid.

This is a win-win situation. The homeowners cannot use the excess energy, but the ailing grid can. The homeowner is then compensated for the energy provided and clean, renewable energy is fed into the grid.

This policy provides incentive for homeowners to go solar and to go green. By installing solar panels on their home, they can provide their homes with clean, renewable energy. They can then sell any excess power generated to the city, providing others with clean, renewable energy that might not otherwise have that option. This did not require massive capital inputs as the city merely tapped into to resources that already existed and provide incentive for people thinking about taking the solar plunge.

Do you have solar panels on your home?  If you haven’t, would it be something you would consider doing? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Image credit:  greensambaman on flickr under a Creative Commons license

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