A bill filed this week in the Florida state legislature aims to establish a pilot program to demonstrate the benefits of solar and energy storage during natural disasters or state emergencies.
The bill would appropriate $10 million to establish an energy security and disaster resilience pilot program within Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, according to the bill text. The department would be directed to issue grants to support deployment of onsite solar PV systems paired with energy storage that will serve “critical disaster resilience facilities located in areas of critical state concern.”
The bill also would allocate funding for the Florida Solar Energy Center to study the benefits of using renewable energy plus energy storage technologies. Results of the study would be released in 2019.
In a Jan. 3 statement, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Vote Solar supported the new bill and urged the Florida legislature to pass it.
“This is a crucial step in preparing Florida for future emergencies and we thank Rep. Holly Raschein, [the bill’s main sponsor], for her leadership,” Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO, said. “Making sure our first responders and critical facilities have the power they need to deliver life-saving services during emergencies should be a top priority for any state, and solar plus storage is the easiest and most effective solution. This pilot program will demonstrate the effectiveness of solar and storage in maintaining grid resilience and help lawmakers implement this strategy on a larger scale.”