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JEA Approves Solar Expansion, Battery Incentive Program

JEA’s governing board Tuesday approved five measures meant to expand the use of solar power in Northeast Florida.

Florida's largest community-owned utility will build five new solar farms on the First Coast by late 2019 and the board also approved including renewable energy in a 2010 pledge to generate 30 percent of its power from nuclear.

New rooftop solar users in Jacksonville won't get paid as much for selling their excess power back to the utility; a practice called net metering, but will be eligible for a 30 percent rebate on battery storage.

Existing solar users will be grandfathered in at their current rate for the next 20 years; still some local industry heads were uneasy with the change.

The board took public comment on the proposals for the first time before their vote Tuesday and opposition to the changes was more muted than it has been in past years.

Still, JEA board members moved back the effective date of the net metering change from January of next year to April as a compromise.

Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.