TALLAHASSEE — Some Floridians who applied for solar energy rebates will get checks from the state this week for half of what they requested and two years after filing their applications.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced on Tuesday that his Energy Office completed its review of outstanding applications since 2009 and will issue partial rebates to consumers who met the program's requirements. Each of the 8,800 approved applicants will get a check for 52 percent of their request, all the state can afford.
The state started the program in 2006 to reward residents who purchased and installed solar energy technologies, including solar water heaters and electric systems, for their homes and businesses.
It did not take long for public demand for rebates to outgrow available state dollars. The program's funding was depleted in July 2009, leaving unanswered more than 15,000 applications requesting a combined $52.7 million in rebates, said department spokesman Sterling Ivey. After refusing to fund it in the 2009-10 fiscal year, the Legislature provided $22 million for the solar energy incentives program in its November special session, Ivey said.
Ivey did not know late Tuesday the total amount of solar energy rebates awarded by the state.
Putnam's agency inherited the Energy Office and its rebate program from Gov. Rick Scott in July. The program is no longer accepting applications.