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Republican Governors Support Renewable Energy Despite Trump

July 12, 2017

Republican Governors in Florida and Nevada signed bills in June to support solar in their states after previously suppressing solar energy.

In Florida, Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 90, a measure that will expand tax breaks for renewable en­ergy sources such as solar panels on commercial and industrial buildings. The bill extends renewable-ener­gy tax breaks already given to residential properties and exempts a percentage of the assessed value of renewable installations from property taxes.

S.B. 90 received unanimous support in both the Flor­ida House of Representatives and its Senate but was not voted on until the end of the legislative session. It was a compromise solution to implement a clean-en­ergy constitutional amendment approved by 73% of Florida voters last August.

Florida's solar industry is relatively small despite large capacity and massive need. The state currently ranks only 13 in the nation for installed capacity, although it is third in technical solar potential. Florida was previ­ously ranked as one of the 10 worst states for block­ing distributed solar with bad policies.

In Nevada, Governor Brian Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 405, which reinstates a framework for owners of solar panels in the state to get reimbursed for excess energy they generate by restoring net metering in Ne­vada.

The corrupt three-member Public Utilities Commis­sion had previously suppressed net metering without public input in December 2015. Now utility customers with rooftop solar will be compensated at 95% of the retail electricity rate for solar energy they put back into the grid. The credit declines overtime in 7% incre­ments for every 80 megawatts of rooftop solar energy deployed, until it reaches a floor rate at 75% of the re­tail rate.

The Nevada legislature earlier this year passed two additional renewable energy bills, Assembly Bill 206 and Senate Bill 392. Assembly Bill 206 requires elec­tricity providers in the state obtain at least 40 percent of electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030. Senate Bill 392 instructs the Public Util­ities Commission to adopt standards for the operation of community solar gardens. Sandoval has so far not made a decision on either bill.

As Trump pushes dirty energy and tries to suppress clean energy, more states are stepping up to reduce the damage he causes to the environment and econ­omy.

Green energy employs far more people and generates massive economic benefits compared to the fossil fuel industry.