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.”