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Florida Clean Energy Report Shows State Falls Short Of Its Potential

Florida Solar Energy Center

A coalition of energy partners has published a census of renewable energy jobs in Florida.

The coalition includes: the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy, the Florida Chapter of Energy Services Coalition and Environmental Entrepreneurs or E2, an affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Their findings show a little more than 130,000 Floridians in clean energy jobs. Though the authors of the census agree there has been growth during the past decade, they point to other states that are investing more into things like solar than Florida.

Bob Keefe, executive director for E2, says he can think of one way to change those trends.

"A third party sales agreement that would allow solar companies to come in and essentially lease solar panels for houses and businesses and sell the energy from that directly to customers," Keefe says. "Right now you can’t do that in the state, you have to go directly through the utilities to do that."

Mike Antheil, executive director for the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy says states like Georgia, Texas, Vermont and Washington are leaving Florida in the dust when it comes to solar and renewables. He believes it’s up to folks in Tallahassee.

"We need our state leaders to understand the potential that we have and then put in smart policies to be able to reach that potential," Antheil says. 

The renewable energy report shows the three most frequently cited barriers to growth includes: taxes, government policy and business costs.

The report predicts another 12,000 renewable energy jobs added within the next 12 months at the current pace of growth.

Luis Hernandez is an award-winning journalist and host whose career spans three decades in cities across the U.S. He’s the host of WLRN’s newest daily talk show, Sundial (Mon-Thu), and the news anchor every afternoon during All Things Considered.