New state law offers incentives to use solar energy

Some believe could better Florida's environment, economy

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott toured start up company Bing energy -- a 3-killowatt hydrogen fuel cell generator.

State funds are helping the company grow. Another new state law, also approved by Scott, will help the sunshine state live up to its name, offering incentives for people to switch to solar.

"They have to look at what works for their family. We need to get a return on investment," said Scott.

In 2008, Florida voters approved a measure forbidding a property appraiser from raising a home's taxable value due to a homeowner installing solar power. But Lawmakers ignored the mandate until this past spring.

Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda sponsored the measure that hadn't gone anywhere for four years.

"We've done the right thing by the people, we've respected their will. We've respected what they've wanted to do and it's going to be good for the state of Florida, and good for the environment," said Vasilinda.

Solar Energy companies call the legislation a step in the right direction.

"A lot more incentives and we'll see a lot more business come to Florida," said Al Simpler from Simpler Solar Systems.

There is a lot that goes into powering a building from solar energy. One company in Florida is one of the only to have 13 months of consecutive zero dollar electric bills, all because of solar energy.

Supporters still worry Florida hasn't done enough.

The three surrounding states, Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia, all have more incentives than the state of Florida.

But the new law will allow Floridians to take full advantage of the sun, and save money in the long run for doing so.

Some think the law is a good first step, but there is still work to be done. Six in 10 Florida voters approved the 2008 measure.

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