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Solar Promise Being Broken

February 2nd, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Thousands of Floridians who purchased solar panels with the promise of a state rebate may be out of luck. The program is out of money and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, a recommendation from the Governor will only cover about one of three who have already applied.

It was a gray day in North Florida, but these solar panels were still producing electricity. Bob Lauther installed this 150 thousand dollar system in late June. Now he is one of thousands of Floridians waiting for a promised rebate.

It would come out to just at a hundred thousand in rebates, Lauther said.

Reporter: So that makes it a good deal?

A good deal, he said.

Reporter: without a rebate?

Without a rebate, that makes it a marginal return on an investment, Lauther said.

The rebate program started in 2005. It has always had more applicants than money. This year, Charlie Crist is recommending the funding be doubled.

But even at ten million, only one in three who have already applied are likely to see a rebate. Right now, theres enough money in the bank to get a check to everyone who applied before June 10th. That will leave any on the hook.

Almost 7,000 people are waiting for rebates. And they are coming in at a rate of a million dollars a month.

Al Simpler says the delay is costing jobs.

Were actually losing about 30 percent of our jobs, our job force of solar here in the state of Florida, because of loss of rebate money and the disincentive it has created in uncertainty, Al Simpler with Simpler Solar Systems said.

Even if state lawmakers doubled the program to ten million, they will still be breaking a promise to thousands of others.

State lawmakers must act before July if they are to keep the program alive. Several ideas are in the hopper to fund the rebates, but none are a done deal.

Posted in State Budget, State News | 3 Comments »

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