If you have a solar energy system on your home or business, then you know the importance of net metering. In Florida, net metering rules were adopted in 2008. Net metering allows utility customers who connect solar to the electric grid to get credit on their electric bill if they send excess electricity back to the grid. (Click HERE to learn more about net metering in Florida.) Sadly, despite obvious benefits to both customers and utilities, in Florida, net metering is under attack – AGAIN!
For years now, Florida’s utility monopolies have been fighting to end net metering. They have leveraged gigantic political contributions, extraordinary levels of lobbying, and misinformation campaigns that label net metering as a “subsidy” that not only forces people without solar panels to pay for energy they do not benefit from but also increases the cost of electricity for everyone.
Those assertions are patently untrue. The data collected over dozens of studies in states across the country are very clear. Everyone on the grid saves money when an individual installs solar on his or her home or business. Doing so means the utility doesn’t have to invest in new transmission lines, new power plants etc., which cost utility customers more on their bill every month. The problem is, utilities like these investments because they make a guaranteed profit on those investment dollars.
Please: get informed, get angry, and make your voice heard before net metering is killed entirely or hobbled so badly that it eliminates the financial benefit of using clean, renewable energy from the sun.
Don’t think it can’t happen. At Peace River Electric Co-op (covering eastern Sarasota and Manatee counties), reduction in net metering rates three years ago has effectively stopped solar installations in that territory.
FPL recently pushed out a survey that makes it very clear its intentions toward net metering. Here is a sample message included on the survey:
“No one should be forced to pay for part of their neighbor’s electric bill. But, that’s exactly what’s happening each month for 99.5% of FPL customers, who pay to fund the rooftop solar panels found on homes throughout the state. Contrary to what you may have read, we’ve long supported customers who have the financial means and choose to buy solar panels for their roof. We’ve just simply believed it’s wrong for 99.5% of our customers – including low-income customers and customers who don’t even own a roof – to be burdened with higher electric bills simply to support customers who have the ability and desire to make such a major purchase. That’s why we support legislation that aims to create an equitable playing field for everyone, because left unchecked, current rooftop solar rules in Florida will cost FPL customers even more in the coming years.”
Can we just say, “Liar!” This misinformation campaign hits all of the top-line points in FPL’s strategy to turn Floridians against solar. If you really believe that FPL is supportive of distributed solar, we’ve got a bridge to sell you …
The Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA) has been organizing, fundraising and taking action to counter anti-net metering misinformation. On November 9, at the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) Commission Meeting. FlaSEIA reports that it and its partners “organized over 100 individuals to OUC’s headquarters, resulting in a two-hour long public comment period, the longest for OUC in over a decade. Our industry sent a clear message: attacking net-metering is an attack on local jobs and economic development.”
As FlaSEIA asserts, “We know that our industry creates meaningful jobs, provides economic resiliency to everyday people, and enables consumer choice. We also know that Florida’s rooftop solar industry annually generates over $18.3 billion in economic impact for the Sunshine State!”
Attacks on net metering will not only discourage potential solar adopters from installing solar – as the financial benefit will be wiped out – they will also cause irreparable harm to the solar industry in our state, potentially closing tax-paying businesses and eliminating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs in our communities. In the end, killing net metering will only further cement the power industry’s monopoly in Florida, making all of us vulnerable to unchecked rising energy costs.
Net metering is the cornerstone policy that the rooftop solar market is built upon. Without net metering, the solar industry’s future is in jeopardy. We encourage you to stay informed, support pro-solar entities, and speak up. Here are some resources for your consideration:
Donate to FlaSEIA’s Net Metering Defense Fund: Brilliant Harvest has donated significant funds to FlaSEIA for this effort and we need your support, too. If you believe in rooftop solar, please donate today – and mention Brilliant Harvest when you do!
Write to Governor DeSantis
Write to your state Senator
Write to your state Representative
Become a dues-paying member of FlaSEIA