Sunny Days for Solar

Things are looking up for solar energy in Florida,  according to a report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Highlights of the U.S. Solar Market Insight report, out last week:

— Florida, in the first quarter of this year, added 38.6 megawatts, expanding 6 percent, making it the 12th fastest-growing state.

— Florida installed 10 times more solar in 2016 than it did in 2015 (404.7 megawatts compared to 42.5 megawatts) due to several large utility-scale projects.

— Already, Florida is projected to be the seventh fastest-growing market over the next five years, adding 2,475 megwatts (more than triple its current capacity).

The report follows an announcement in April by Florida Power & Light that it’s accelerating solar plans to add nearly 300 megawatts a year through 2023, at which time the electric company will have nearly 2,100 megawatts of solar in service, enough to power more than 420,000 homes.

The report also comes as a bill sits on Gov. Rick Scott’s desk to carry out a voter-approved constitutional amendment designed to expand the use of solar and other renewable-energy devices.

Scott has until June 20 to act on the measure (SB 90), which will extend a renewable-energy tax break to commercial and industrial properties. The tax break would be in place for 20 years and is an extension of a break already provided to residential properties. A selling point of the constitutional amendment was that it would make renewable-energy equipment exempt from state tangible personal property taxes.