The Contact 5 investigators climbed to new heights to reveal how thousands of Floridians spent tens of thousands of dollars installing solar panels. They did it because the state promised them a big chunk of that money back through the Solar Energy System Incentives Program .
Kevin Minogue tapped into his pension just to front the money for 22 rooftop panels. "I couldn't afford it without it, no way."
Today's he's ten grand in the hole.
Judy and Doug Boehm refinanced their home so they, too, could go solar without going poor. "They promised us $13,000, they chopped half of it away."
The state ran out of cash after tapping into federal stimulus dollars two years in a row just to keep up with the demand. But even after the state didn't have the money to refund consumers approved for the rebates, it couldn't stop new applications from coming in and getting approved.
"It's outrageous that a government would not come through on something that was promised," State Representative Mark Pafford said.
Now State Representative Irv Slosberg says it's payback time.
11,000 consumers are still waiting for about $25 million in solar rebate checks. "It's sort of like a green energy initiative turned into some kind of ponzi scheme and the state is stiffing the taxpayers!"
Slosberg recently sent letters to Governor Scott and other Tallahassee big wigs seeking refunds "immediately."
He's even drafted an amendment to make good on the state's broken promise.
"If the state sent us a bill for $10,000 for taxes and we sent in $5,000 what do you think the state would say, come up with that money! It's the same thing, they have to pay!"
A new ray of hope for consumers who never thought going green with the state would leave them so red hot.
"If you can't trust your government who can you trust?" said Kevin Minogue.
Solar Rebate Questions Answered
How many applications received 100% of the eligible rebate amount?
18,570 (including Solar Hot Water Heaters, PV systems, and Solar Pool Heater applications)
When was the funding exhausted prior to the June 30, 2010, statutory end of the program?
Approximately June 2009
How many applications were determined eligible for the prorated (Approximately 52% of eligible rebate amount per 2010 HB 15A) rebate amount?
10,864 Total – (8,763 Solar Hot Water Heaters and PV systems; 2,101 Solar Pool Heaters)
In total, how many applications have been determined to be eligible for this program?
How much money has been distributed?
In Program Years 2006 to 2009, 18,570 applications were paid 100% of the eligible rebate amount before the program funds were exhausted for a total of $33,999,647.33.
The remaining eligible applications received 52% of the eligible rebate amount (per 2010 HB 15A) and were paid a total of $25,694,458.91.
· 8,763 Solar Hot Water Heater and PV System applications were paid $25,585,017.82.
· 2,101 Solar Pool Heater Applications were paid $109,441.09
This results in a grand total for the entire Solar Rebate Program of $59,694,106.24.
How much money is needed to pay the remaining approximately 48% of the rebate amount to applications that received the prorated amount per 2010 HB 15A?