Florida legislature considers ending solar net metering

Legislation introduced yesterday in the Florida legislature aims to end net metering for rooftop solar customers, effectively shutting down this important sector of the state economy and undermining energy freedom for tens of thousands of Floridians.

Republican Senator Jennifer Bradley Introduced SB 1024, which aims to “review legal findings related to grid meter redesign to prevent cross-subsidization of electrical service charges between classes of rate payers” and requires the Public Service Commission to propose new rules for net meters that meet specified criteria by a specified date ; while certain customers who own or lease renewable generation before a certain date are authorized to remain under the existing net meter rules for a certain period of time.

State and federal solar proponents are calling on lawmakers to reject this legislation and allow the state rooftop solar market to continue to grow.

“This is a tired tactic that utilities have used to maintain their monopoly in the electricity markets. Grid metering is a popular program that gives people the right to choose the energy that works for them, benefits all taxpayers and creates thousands of energy jobs throughout Florida. The bill is yet another in a long line of cynical efforts being carried out in the state of Florida at the behest of monopoly companies to the detriment of Florida residents,” Will Giese, SEIA’s Southeast Regional Director, said in a statement. “Depriving Florida’s people of the right to choose solar energy is just bad policy. The bill does not take into account the many benefits that solar energy provides to all taxpayers and it will weaken one of the fastest growing sectors in Florida’s economy. Florida has the second largest solar workforce in the country and ranks third among the states for installed solar capacity. The state is poised to maintain its solar leadership for years to come, but this bill would wipe out that economic growth just as it is accelerating.

Justin Vandenbroeck, president of the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA), said his organization is still analyzing the full impact of the legislation.

Initial modeling suggests this plan has the potential to bring back the rooftop solar industry by nearly a decade, erase thousands of jobs, end consumer choice and eliminate savings, along with the resilience benefits that rooftop solar provides to Floridians,” Vandenbroeck said in a statement. “We look forward to working with state policymakers to protect local jobs, consumer choice and economic development produced by the vibrant solar energy market in the Sunshine State.”

News item from SEIA

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