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Financing Renewable Energy: Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Introduced in Congress

Wind Turbine Propeller Blade Being TransportedRepresentative Jay Inslee (D-WA) has introduced legislation to establish a feed-in tariff (FIT) for renewable energy. Feed-in tariffs have made Germany a solar powerhouse that employs 40,000 people in the solar industry alone, and an estimated 140,000 jobs in renewable energy. FITs have not been a topic of discussion in this country, but now that is sure to change, as the conversation shifts to ways to finance the growth of renewable energy. Renewable Energy World reports that:

“Inslee’s legislation would require utilities — at the request of any new renewable energy facility owner — to enter into a 20-year fixed-rate power purchase agreement. Uniform national “renewable energy payment” rates would be set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at levels that would provide a 10% internal rate of return on investment for available commercialized technologies in regions constituting the top 30th percentile of renewable energy resource potential in the U.S..”

In plain English, this means that if you install solar PV panels on your home, the utility has to buy the electricity you generate at a higher rate than retail, guaranteeing you a return on your investment. Extending this power purchase agreement for 20 years gives everyone — especially those who want to invest in renewables or start a small business installing solar panels — assurance of return on their investment.

In Germany this has motivated citizens and businesses to put up solar panels wherever they can, allowing Germany to get 14.2 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Though Inslee’s legislation has little hope of getting through this Congress (they are still stalling on renewing the existing solar energy tax credits), FITs will surely be in the news more as the election season heats up.

Related Posts:

House Democrats Introduce National Feed-in Tariff for Renewable Energy Projects

40,000 Solar Jobs in a Cloudy Country

Atlantic City Convention Center Plans Largest Solar Roof in U.S.

Image Credit: Carol Gulyas


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Written By

Carol Gulyas is a leader in the renewable energy community in Illinois, where she serves as VP of the Board of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. Recently she co-founded EcoAchievers -- a provider of online education for the renewable energy and sustainable living community. She spent 18 years in the direct marketing industry in New York and Chicago, and is currently a teaching librarian at Columbia College Chicago. Carol grew up in a small town in central Indiana, then lived in the Pacific Northwest, Lima, Peru, and New York City. She is inspired by reducing energy consumption through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green building technology.

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