While we may have won a major battle in defeating the anti-solar measure, Amendment 1, in the November election, the battle over solar is far from over in Florida. Our state is third in the nation in solar potential but we rank a woeful fourteenth in installed capacity. Advocates of clean, renewable energy need to speak up and make sure that their voices are heard!
Florida is actually one of the worst states when it comes to solar policy. There are no renewable policy standards requiring utilities to generate a certain percentage of electricity (based on total sales) from renewable sources. While Florida does have net metering, there are limits to how much power a customer can sell back – and we all know that the utilities have indicated they would like to levy additional fees on solar adopters. They say solar shifts the financial burden of maintaining the grid to non-solar users and that it’s only fair … but we understand that it’s simply another way to bolster their profits. And Florida does not allow third-party ownership of a solar array – one must own it outright. This would never work for homes or cars – why should it be forbidden for solar?
Unfortunately, Florida isn’t alone in its determination to limit distributed solar development – the power companies in states across the country wield a lot of power and there are too many legislators who don’t or won’t understand how critical renewable energy is to stave off the devastating effects of climate change. We need to make them understand – distributed solar energy can help to stem climate change, protect wildlife, and increase our energy security.
Don’t let the momentum of the Amendment 1 battle wane – we know for a fact that Floridians across political, religious, economic and industry lines support solar power. As our new state legislators take office, reach out to them, let them you that you expect them to be more forward-thinking in our state’s energy policies. Tell them that you expect them to help the Sunshine State live up to its aspirational nickname.