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FPL halfway to sunny goal of 1 million solar panels installed by year’s end

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Florida’s top utility is kicking its solar capacity into high gear, celebrating the halfway mark of an audacious goal of one million solar panels in operation by the end of 2016. Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest solar power generator, announced Thursday the installation of its 500,000th solar panel, part of a plan to bring three new solar energy centers online this year. Each of the proposed centers expects to generate 74.5 megawatts of generating capacity apiece, making them…

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Amendment 4 wins — measure would expand solar power in Florida

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A constitutional amendment intended to expand the use of solar power in Florida has passed. The measure is won statewide by a huge 73 percent to 27 percent margin. The measure needed 60 percent to win. Amendment 4 exempts solar devices and equipment from being subject to the personal tangible property tax. A business that currently has solar panels is now being taxed on the panels or devices in addition to their building. The new amendment will now exempt businesses with solar panels from paying…

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Amendment 4 backers want voters to see the light

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Using a favorite joke, state Sen. Jeff Brandes said he had brought together “the Baptists and the bootleggers” in support of his proposed solar-energy constitutional amendment. Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, led a news conference Thursday at Tallahassee’s Florida Press Center. “This is something Republicans and Democrats have come together on,” he told reporters. “It’s about our environment; it’s about jobs … businesses, residents and tourists will all benefit.” Florida for Solar, Inc., the committee behind Amendment 4, is doing a…

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St. Pete Chamber urges members to vote ‘yes’ on solar Amendment 4

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The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce endorsed Amendment 4, a grass-roots effort to encourage the use of solar power by providing tax breaks to those who install solar equipment. The latest edition of the chamber’s newsletter says, “Chamber members are encouraged to vote for YES on Amendment 4 on the Aug. 30th ballot. Amendment 4 would remove personal property tax and real estate taxes on solar energy systems. The Chamber voted to support YES on 4 and yard signs are…

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Duke Energy Florida brings 17-acre Osceola County solar power plant online

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Osceola County commissioners will celebrate the newest Duke Energy solar plant providing Central Florida consumers clean, renewable power. The Osceola Solar Facility, owned and operated by Duke Energy, contains 15,000 solar panels and is roughly the size of 13 football fields. The plant, which officially began operation May 12, produces nearly 4 megawatts of carbon-free energy. The solar plant will be honored at the Aug. 1 Osceola County Commission meeting, according to a Duke Energy news release. At 1:30 p.m.,…

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Advanced energy fields in Florida poised for growth

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The number of advanced energy jobs is on the rise in Florida, and experts said the industry could add more than 5,000 new jobs by the end of the year. A new report from the Advanced Energy Economy Institute found there were more than 140,000 advanced energy jobs in the state in 2015. The industry employs nearly twice as many people are the agriculture industry, more people than the real estate industry. According to the report, prepared for the AEE…

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Consumers for Smart Solar forks over $6.5M in ad buys last month, contributions slow

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The committee backing an amendment adding solar power rules to the state constitution spent more than $6.5 million on ad buys last month as contributions slowed to a trickle. According to the May report, Consumers for Smart Solar forked over more than three-quarters of its war chest to Virginia-based firm National Media Research, Planning and Placement for a campaign supporting the amendment. The massive outflow of funds was met with just a single $5,000 contribution, leaving the committee with just…

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