CLERMONT, Fla. – Advocates for solar energy are calling on Governor Ron DeSantis to veto a bill that would change net metering requirements.
The bill allows utility companies to give rooftop solar users less money for energy. Right now, those solar users get full retail rate for excess energy they generate and send back to the grid.
That means they can bank that energy as credits to use on future utility bills.
The bill's supporters argue this is necessary to ensure Floridians who can't afford solar aren't subsidizing those who have it. Critics say it's a bad move for the solar power industry and for the environment.
Solar Contractor Brad Launs, who owns Everything Solar, worries people will be deterred from going solar if this bill becomes law, since it means one less economic incentive.
“It’s a typical example of the power companies honestly saying, ‘do as I say not as a do,’” he explained. “Because they can build power plants, but we can’t benefit from the free energy that we pull out of the grid.”
Launs says he has had an influx of people inquiring about solar energy, hoping to get grandfathered in. The bill allows solar users until the end of 2023 to get the full retail rate for another 20 years. In 2024, that payback rate would start gradually declining for new users.
Rachel Beveridge of Clermont chose to get solar panels installed in hopes of reaching net zero on her utility bills over time. “I feel like it’s meant to be just because we’ve been able to capitalize when it’s the most perks,” Beveridge said.
Florida Power & Light Company is a major supporter of this bill. News 13 requested a statement in response to the legislature’s passage of the bill. The full text of the statement is below.
“We are pleased Florida lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to pass bi-partisan legislation aimed at modernizing the state’s outdated net metering rules. The old rules have fueled a rapidly growing, multi-million-dollar annual subsidy paid for by the vast majority of Floridians who don’t have rooftop solar in support of those who do. FPL leads the nation in expanding cost-effective, large-scale solar, and we also support our customers who choose to buy private rooftop solar systems. This legislation would take an important step toward balancing the costs of solar expansion in the state. While it would still potentially lock in hundreds of millions of dollars in extra charges for non-rooftop customers, it importantly directs the Florida Public Service Commission to phase out this regressive tax and make solar energy more equitable for all Floridians, not just the fortunate few.”