Dispatch From SSC Intern Nick Foster
The Florida chapter of the Solar Energy Industries Association released a statement last week that backed the offshore drilling of oil and gas along the state’s coastline. The support may appear to be the antithesis of the aims of the organization to promote renewable energy sources. However, the revenue generated by this offshore drilling might be channelled towards an increase in construction of solar technologies.
The Florida state budget has been hit hard by the tough economic climate. In fact, the state had to rely on the sum of only $15 million stimulus money for a solar rebate program offered to the public. The program was so popular that the processing of applications for funding solar installations is backlogged by about 10 months. By backing offshore drilling, another source of revenue is streaming into the state’s economy that would otherwise be absent.
Bruce Kershner, executive director of Florida’s Solar Energy Industries Association stated, “we want to be able to have a seat at the table, to direct those funds or at least a portion of those funds to a clean energy source.”
It is unclear as to how much funding may be available for solar projects and rebate programs through offshore drilling. With impending senatorial legislation dealing with climate change, the timeline of possibly receiving substantial amounts of funding for solar energy from drilling is also questionable. In the meantime, it is imperative for Florida to continue to promote the use of solar technologies in any way possible. After all, it is the Sunshine state.
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