During the planned special session of the Florida legislature announced today by the incoming Republican leadership, one potential agenda item will be partial funding for energy rebate programs, which had promised millions of dollars to Floridians that were never paid.

One of the programs (HVAC) covers efficiency upgrades for air conditioners. The other covers small-scale solar power installations on homes and businesses (background here and here).

From the press release detailing the legislature’s preferences, most of which involve plans to override vetoes made after the regular session by Gov. Charlie Crist:

Problem: Floridians have made financial commitments for the installation of qualified HAVC system based on an understanding that they would receive a rebate. The rebate program created upon which this understanding was based had neither appropriation nor lawful authority. Additionally, a solar rebate program last funded in FY 2009-10 has accumulated a backlog of over 13,000 unreimbursed rebate applications at an estimated value of $52 million. This backlog of applications is attributable to the popularity of the program, coupled with a significantly delayed notification that the funds had been depleted.

Potential Solution: $31.3 million in federal stimulus funds are available for appropriation for programs such as the solar rebate program and the HVAC program.

HVAC Rebate Program: $2,467,244 could be appropriated specifically for the HVAC Rebate Program to pay rebate applications submitted by November 30, 2010, for systems purchased or contracted for on or between August 30, 2010, and September 14, 2010.

Solar Rebate Program: The remaining $28,902,623 appropriation could be used to pay a percentage of each solar rebate application in the backlog.   The percentage to be paid will be determined by dividing the remaining appropriation by the dollar value of approved rebate applications in the backlog.    Depending on the ultimate number and value of rebates paid under the bill, it is estimated that over 50 percent of the value of each solar rebate will be paid.

This plan attempts to provide an equitable solution to both the HVAC and Solar Rebate Programs within available resources. Most individuals who may have been misled into making a significant financial commitment to purchase an HVAC system based upon a premature promise will be made whole.   In addition, individuals and businesses that also made a significant financial commitment in purchasing a solar energy system only to find out later that funds were not, or would not be available, are provided a meaningful portion of the original rebate amount.

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