Mike Antheil has three goals in mind when he comes to Gainesville: solar panels on every rooftop, biomass energy from every farm and renewable energy on every property.
Antheil, executive director of the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy, plans to make that happen with the Florida Renewable Energy Tour, a 10-stop trek across the state from Feb. 10 to Feb. 26.
The tour is set to stop in Gainesville Feb. 25.
With the tour scheduled just before the upcoming legislative session on March 8, he said he hopes to change minds and policy.
On the itinerary are three stops at solar electricity providers around the city, followed by a workshop at Santa Fe College and a town-hall-style meeting at the Pugh Hall Ocora.
The specific solar electricity providers have not been named yet, said Don Ryan, tour coordinator.
But Gainesville renewable energy may not be too hard to sway, said Don Davis, a board member for the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy.
“Gainesville is absolutely the best place in the state of Florida for solar energy,” Davis said, mentioning the fact that Gainesville is the first city in the U.S. to adopt the Feed-In Tariff program, in which GRU purchases solar energy from residents who have solar panels at twice the cost of what it sells the energy.
Ryan said he hopes to inspire policies like Gainesville’s in other cities along the tour, including Miami, Tampa and Orlando.
“We hope what people take away is a clear message that Florida needs renewable energy policy,” Ryan said.
The tour is free to the public. Participants can register at renewableenergyworld.com