Connor Aucremanne

Connor Aucremanne

Sunset or Sunrise? Framing the Science and Policy of Rooftop Solar PV in Florida

Authors

Connor J. Aucremanne, Dr. Hal S. Knowles III

Mentor

Dr. Hal S. Knowles III

College

College of Design, Construction, and Planning

Abstract

Climate analysis and statistical studies demonstrate that, within the United States (U.S.), Florida is third in annual average ultraviolet irradiance and tenth in annual average sunlight exposure (CDC, 2015). Despite the immense potential of solar power in Florida, it only ranks fifth in terms of megawatts installed (SEIA, 2020). Furthermore, from a state level, renewable sources account for a mere 3% of electricity net generation, with rooftop solar a small fraction of that number (EIA, 2020). In recent years, solar photovoltaic (PV) technology has improved, costs have declined, and incentives have become more apparent in order to spark growth within the industry. Yet, policies unique to Florida and an outdated reliance on fossil fuels have continued to constrain the full potential Florida has to offer resulting in a ranking of 25th in solar policy out of the fifty United States. Given the statewide opportunities and constraints, this study, as mentored by Dr. Hal S. Knowles III, has constructed a mixed-methods research project using data analysis, case studies, and stakeholder interviews to explore viable policy options that may accelerate the transition from fossil fuel-dependent energy generation towards renewable rooftop solar PV in Florida. Following data analysis of Florida’s current positioning in rooftop solar photovoltaic, the science behind solar panels, and the case study locations, this study will focus on four main themes: (1) disparity with low-income housing; and (2) viability of a carbon tax; (3) discrepancies with soft costs; and (4) utility companies’ role in rooftop solar photovoltaic utilization.

Poster

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Research Pitch

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