People Power

posted on Friday, August 21st, 2009 by Jonas Blake

I am a professional engineer with a graduate degree, licensed to practice electrical engineering in Florida and several other states. I am the founder and owner of M2E Consulting Engineers, a full service forensics engineers firm that also provides LEED consulting and commissioning as part of a comprehensive process to certify “green building”.

I am often asked why Florida, the Sunshine State, does not use more of the “free” sun energy. The reason is simple: it’s expensive, even with all the tax initiative. In order to make solar energy viable, one would have to either rely on additional State or other governmental subsidies, or incentivize private capital to get into the game. I believe governmental incentives are not a realistic alternative in today’s budgeting climate, so what is stopping venture capitalists?

The model that is used on the west coast provides for “producers” of solar power to “sell” their excess production back to the grid, effectively producing a reliable cash flow stream. Such a stream can be sold for profit in the market, making it a viable business model. Our power model allows only for co-generation (the solar power and “regular” power essentially enter the same metering device, with regular power supplementing solar if needed), but the excess cannot be “pushed” back into the grid.

This is why the next “green” frontier is modeling our state’s power generating system to embrace solar as an equal, and allow for courageous capitalist risk takers, not just enthusiasts and environmentally conscientious citizens, to help enhance our state’s independence from foreign energy sources.

Misha Mladenovic, President
M2E Consulting Engineers