Photo credit: Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

As a bill with incentives for renewable energy sits on Gov. Rick Scott’s desk, some companies are already looking to cash in on Florida rays.

This month National Solar Power announced a sales contract to buy millions of panels from leading U.S. manufacture SolarWorld. Florida-based National Solar plans to build 700 megawatts of capacity at three plants, boosting the state’s solar energy sevenfold.

Three proposed plants, slated for build-out in 20MW increments would give a boost to the state’s renewable portfolio, which has lagged behind other states that have implemented renewable or alternative energy portfolio standards.

Last month the Florida legislature passed HB 7117, a bill that would give tax incentives for renewable energy generation while removing a previous requirement that the public service commission adopt energy portfolio standards.

Florida’s renewable energy power generation in January remained almost unchanged over the previous year, dropping the state from 9th to 16th in ranking of renewable power generation types other than hydroelectric, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In the past year, the Sunshine State was surpassed by Oklahoma, Colorado, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Kansas, which boosted their renewable outputs by 30 to 90 percent. All of those states have portfolio standards for renewable or alternative energy.

Though it only contributes 10 percent of Florida’s current renewable energy, solar could be Florida’s biggest renewable source of electricity if exploited, with a technical potential estimated at 150,000 gigawatt/hours, according to the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Energy.

Nearly all of the state’s current solar generation capacity of 112MW comes from three Florida Power & Light plants completed in recent years. The National Solar Power plants would increase Florida’s renewable electricity capacity 60 percent to 1.8 gigawatts.