Florida’s rooftop solar industry is holding out hope that Gov. Ron DeSantis will veto House Bill 741, which passed in the legislature earlier this month and would phase out net metering incentives for those considering rooftop solar.
What You Need To Know
- The Florida Legislature recently passed House Bill 741
- The bill would phase out net metering incentives for residents considering rooftop solar
- So far, Gov. Ron DeSantis has not signed the bill into law, and opponents of the legislation are working to keep it that way
The rooftop solar industry employs and estimated 40,000 workers statewide, and insiders fear the move would lead to eventual job cuts. That is why local business owners are now urging the governor to veto the legislation.
“This bill is catastrophic,” said Blake Ambrester, owner of Clearwater-based Solar Bear. “The whole point of going solar is to off set your energy bill, and if you’re no longer able to get the credits from the power you produce, it’s just a paperweight on your roof.”
Ambrester is among those business owners who testified before committees in both the Florida Senate and House, urging against the legislation. That’s where he met Steve Rutherford, owner of Tampa Bay Solar.
While technically competitors, the two men have now become friends, and along with other business owners, are working to get the attention of DeSantis.
“I’ve told folks before, I’ve got individuals with a high school degree that are buying their first home right now that work for me,” said Rutherford, a former Navy SEAL who makes it a point to hire veterans. “Who doesn’t want those types of jobs here in Florida?”
The Florida Solar Energy Industries Association — the Florida Arm of the national trade association for the solar industry — has joined the push, helping to generate thousands of emails and dozens of phone calls daily to DeSantis’s office.
“Our goal is to get as many constituents in Florida to reach out to the governor’s office and let them know we will not stand for the big utility monopolies taking away our right to use clean, green energy,” Ambrester said.
Spectrum Bay News 9 reached out to DeSantis' office for comment.
“The governor will make a decision on the legislation when he receives it," said deputy Press Secretary Bryan Griffin. "He will listen to all constituent concerns and make the best decision for the citizens of the state of Florida,”
Backers of the legislation say Florida’s current net metering system, put in place in 2008, is outdated and would leave those without rooftop solar unfairly subsidizing grid costs. However, according to our partners at the Tampa Bay Times, the Public Service Commission has made no such determination.
If DeSantis signs off, the changes in net metering would start in January of 2023. Those who already have rooftop solar would be grandfathered in for the next 20 years.