Citing Harm to Local Businesses, Company Asks City to Halt Solar Subscription Program

Citing Harm to Local Businesses, Company Asks City to Halt Solar Subscription Program

The owner of IGT Solar, a local solar company that employs approximately 8-10 people, has sent a letter to Tallahassee City Commissioners asking the City to halt the recently implemented solar subscription program.

Matt Chentnik, who started IGT 10 years ago in his Tallahassee garage, wrote that “the City’s solar subscription program has had a negative impact on our business at Independent Green Technologies LLC (a local state licensed solar contracting company). Since the creation of the City’s solar program, we have had numerous potential clients decide not to purchase solar equipment from us and instead decide to subscribe to the City’s solar program.”

Mr. Chentnik says the subscription program has made the City’s electric utility a competitor with local solar companies.

“This has had a very dramatic, very negative impact on our business which is nearly 100% photovoltaics. The City of Tallahassee in our view, is now acting as a direct competitor to us in our state licensed trade. The City is selling solar generated power at a premium rate to subscribers and is in effect now a direct competitor to all local solar and electrical contracting companies, licensed by the state of Florida to sell and install photovoltaic power systems,” said Mr. Chentnik.

Instead of integrating the power from the solar farm with the power grid, staff with the City’s electric utility developed a subscription program that implies customers can purchase solar power.

Chentnik says, “The City also needs to be clear to the citizens already signed up for this program, and explain to them that with the current grid infrastructure, there is no way of directing strictly solar generated power to their homes and businesses. They are simply paying extra for electricity now partially generated by solar that all COT Electric subscribers will receive without a subscription.”

Chentnik, who ironically pushed for the solar farm and is part of Sustainable Tallahassee, has requested a halt to the solar subscription program until discussions with local solar and electrical companies occur and a way forward can be devised that does not harm local businesses.

Chentnik closed his letter by writing,  “I applaud the City’s move forward with the solar farm, and the excitement they have inspired in the local community. As a Sustainable Tallahassee member, I am certainly in favor of a 100% sustainable energy goal. However, I encourage the City to move forward without excluding and harming local businesses in the process.”

12 Responses to "Citing Harm to Local Businesses, Company Asks City to Halt Solar Subscription Program"

  1. Wow. Lloyd is so wrong about solar on so many levels. Maybe he should take the photovoltaics class offered at one of the local colleges or just do a little research about the global solar industry. There is nothing special or different about the solar panels at the COT plant or the sunshine for that matter. There is no way they can send strictly Solar generated power to any subscribers. If you want to make sure you are getting solar power at your house, use the same sunshine at your house with your own Solar Power system. Don’t forget to add in how COT cut out local contractors to build their system, how they hired an out of state GC to build it and a foreign based finance company to run off with a $13 million dollar federal tax credit that COT is ineligible for.

  2. Have to applaud the City of Tallahassee’s solar expansion. Great, insightful, and consistent with US and global developments. Utilities all over FL and the US are adding Solar and its increasingly becoming an expectation of their customers. It is unfortunate in the way COT marketed solar to customers and any perceived impact on local companies (lets see the data), though there seems to be some of the blame game going on. Putting solar on the power grid and then making an equivalency to standalone solar installations and blaming the city is irresponsible.

    Individual solar installation in Tallahassee is still a “niche” business. The demographics and market conditions are just not there for wide-spread “stand-alone” consumer and business installations. Most can’t afford systems, others don’t want to deal with rooftop installation issues, unsightliness, and question return on investment. Sadly, the general population seems not to care. Unless we add “coal stoked” heating/air we can’t expect incentives from the Trump administration.

    In many ways, stand-alone solar installations are outdated, a “thing” of the past. Solar technology in other parts of the world has passed us by along with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost forever. China is the worlds leader in innovation and massive power grid applications to their citizens, not the US. The innovations and sizes (such as floating farm’s) are beyond what most American’s can imagine. Even Nomads living in the grasslands are provided with solar, have smartphones, and, rooftop solar and solar hot-water has been around for many years before the dawning of “farms.” It is part of their national policy and strategic development (unlike the US), and citizen expectations.

    The City of Tallahassee is not a competitor or culprit. As long as our citizens devalue renewable energy, our government promotes and offers incentives to the petroleum and coal industries (lobbyists), drops out of global participation, and offers regressive leadership, the future of our local companies is uncertain.

  3. The city is trying to stymy roof top distributed solar by saying their central solar accomplishes the same thing. Central solar prevents customers from bypassing the cost for central electric delivery, i.e. transmission and distribution power line costs. In the long-term, stymying distributed roof-top solar results in more capital intensive power plants needed to supply increased power demands raising electric rates from what they otherwise would have been. Slick move Tallahassee.

  4. I’m sorry but i refuse to believe that these people buying solar power believe they have seperate switching for solar when they have no seperate switching set-up set up just for them to receive only solar.duh…duh…buddy brown 66 yr old
    electrician/electromics repairman/solar installer.

  5. But I do like Mike’s statements about drinking water for the hurricanes. I bought several 5 gallon jugs after I moved here in 1989. I just fill them with water before the tropical storms and hurricanes make there way nearby. Opal, Erin, Beryl, Earl, Alberto, and all those storms in 2004 and 05. And now of course Hermine and Irma.

    Best idea though was plugging my inverter into my car and running an extension cord into my house running my router/modem (yes I still have a land line that did not go out and so I had DSL), my laptop, and a small flat screen tv. A $15 digital antenna from Walmart and a $30 inverter gave me total contact with the world while power was out for a few days. I am sure I could have plugged in a fan if I had to also. I even had a solar powered radio that i used to listen to Preston.

  6. I’ve already explained in at least two previous messages that the solar generated by the farm will NOT be going to those who foolishly sign up. They’ll just get the warm-and-fuzzy “honor” of paying for it. There’s no direct connection through the grid from a subscriber’s meter to the farm, and no “switch” anywhere that would accomplish that.
    The city seems to enjoy muscling out local businesses by any means necessary. I heard a story the other day that the city restricted the size of the Music Alley at the Centre of Tallahassee because they didn’t want it to compete against the city-owned amphitheater at Cascades Park.
    And people wonder why businesses don’t want to relocate here…

    1. Speaking from the common sense viewpoint only which is often very different from the legal viewpoint;
      I’m feeling the COT misrepresentation in the way they lured gullible citizens into thinking solar power would magically be transported into their homes and business’ thru the same wires their neighbors get their electricity from by paying COT a higher rate than their neighbors is an organized criminal fraud scam and very likely something FL Atty Gen Bondi should prosecute COT for. Very similar to price gouging from disabled citizens considering the dysfunctional brains of the simpletons in Tallahassee who keep voting for these criminal elected officials.
      Furthermore a business focused Governor who “oh by the way” is also running for Congress should have great interest in the subscription program which made the City’s electric utility a direct competitor with local solar companies.
      I know both Bondi and Scott can both play the safe easy card that there is an ongoing Federal investigation into COT and they must keep Florida’s hands off.
      But really Pam and Rick this is the same FBI that let your Granny Hillary off the hook and was deep-stated so far up the rear of the former POTUS…need I say more???
      Hello Pam and Rick the citizens need some relief from YOU here in the Capitol City of Florida!

  7. What a scam by COT! I hope those that signed up for solar understand what they are getting. A rip- off to pay extra to line the pockets of somebody. Wake up Tallahassee!

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