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.
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.