FIT to Be CLEAN: EU’s ‘Feed-In Tariff’ Rebranded for Americans

FIT to Be CLEAN: EU’s ‘Feed-In Tariff’ Rebranded for Americans

Long Island, N.Y., becomes one of the first places in the U.S. to adopt the newly made-over CLEAN model to promote solar energy.

By Maria Gallucci, InsideClimate News

Officials in Long Island, N.Y., are rebranding a promising yet largely overlooked policy instrument to ramp up the region’s solar power capacity.

Last month, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), the local utility, launched one of the nation’s first CLEAN, or Clean Local Energy Accessible Now, programs.

The initiative uses the same feed-in tariff model that many credit for solar power booms in Germany, France and Spain—only with a different name.

Under the program LIPA pays solar operators a fixed rate of 22 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity they feed back to the grid for 20 years. The goal is to add 50 megawatts of commercial-scale solar energy, enough to power 6,500 homes.

Proponents say feed-in tariffs are key to stoking the clean energy economy, because they help solar and wind compete with conventional fossil fuels, provide private investors with a stable investment environment and create local jobs.

But advocates have struggled to sell the program in the United States—a problem they blame in part on its loaded name.

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