Gov. Ron DeSantis killed a bill Wednesday that would’ve ended net metering in Florida.
The Republican leader’s reasoning: inflation. It marks the second veto of the 2022 Legislative Session.
“Given that the United States is experiencing its worst inflation in 40 years and that consumers have seen steep increases in the price of gas and groceries, as well as escalating bills, the state of Florida should not contribute to the financial crunch that our citizens are experiencing,” DeSantis wrote.
Under net metering, electrical companies must buy back “banked” energy stored by homes at the retail rate. That energy is added to the utility’s grid and redistributed to non-solar customers. The measure — dubbed by critics the “anti-rooftop solar bill” (HB 741) — aimed to end the buyback mandate.
Orlando Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani highlighted the advocacy of opponents to the measure after the announcement. Meanwhile, Congressman and Democratic gubernatorial contender Charlie Crist praised the “power of millions of Floridians making their voices heard and demanding lower costs from Tallahassee.”
“As Governor, I’ll always hold big utilities accountable and reject their unjustified rate increases,” Crist said. “We’ve got a plan to see one million solar roofs installed across the Sunshine State during my first term, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Dover Republican Rep. Lawrence McClure and Sen. Jennifer Bradley are the bill sponsors. The Senate approved the legislation 24-15 last month after the House passed it 83-31.
“This bill is fair,” Bradley told Senators. “It’s a thoughtful glide path to get us to a no subsidy.”
The Legislature established the current system in 2008 to subsidize the nascent solar industry. But critics argued more information was needed on possible impacts before moving forward with Bradley’s proposal.
The bill would have kicked in at the start of 2023 when panel owners will collect a 75% credit. Subsequently, returns would’ve fallen to 60% in 2026, 50% in 2027, and drop to the market rate in 2029. The measure also would have grandfathered in solar panel owners and lessees, allowing them to maintain their entry credit rate for 20 years
Lantana Democratic Sen. Lori Berman said voters indicated their support for subsidizing the rooftop solar industry in 2016, when they shot down a proposed constitutional amendment allowing residents who don’t produce solar energy to abstain from subsidizing it. Like many critics throughout the Session, Berman pointed to Nevada, where the state immediately scrapped net metering in 2015.
“Two years later, their Legislature had to come back and change it because the whole solar industry left Nevada during that time,” Berman said. “I don’t want to see that happen here in our state.”
Despite voting “yes,” New Smyrna Beach Republican Sen. Tom Wright said he was having a hard time casting that vote. He wished the state’s utility commission had been involved in the research assessing whether there was even a need to change the solar industry’s structure.
A recent study from the advocacy group Conservatives for Clean Energy shows the solar industry adds 40,000 jobs, $18.3 billion in economic impact, and $3.2 billion in household income for its workforce. That study also showed solar adds $10.6 billion to the state’s gross domestic product.
A survey released in February by Mason-Dixon showed that 84% of Florida voters support net metering.
In December, the measure came under additional scrutiny after the Miami Herald and Floodlight reported that FPL drafted and encouraged state lawmakers to file legislation constricting the state’s growing rooftop solar industry, one in a series of news stories tracking claims of FPL’s involvement in the political process.
Florida Politics reporter Renzo Downey contributed to this report.
April 27, 2022 at 5:24 pm
Independent voter homeowners with PV panels see the Electric Company buy back as a process to reduce the cost of electricity. DeSantis is bowing to FPL. How much money does FPL give to Republicans?
April 27, 2022 at 5:35 pm
You are mistaken, I believe. FPL was FOR this Bill, not continuing net metering.
April 27, 2022 at 5:57 pm
Florida like Hawaii has ample electricity to sell back to their Utility Companies. Hawaii got rid of net metering in 2015. While FPL talks a good line it is not in their business interest to allow net metering.
April 27, 2022 at 5:33 pm
For once, DeSantis has done something for the good of the state, taxpayers and the environment. Would that he were so far-sighted in areas regarding social issues and racial equity. But, I will take the positive whenever it comes, because if we don’t reduce energy consumption, especially with the changes caused by the War in Ukraine and its effects of reduced gas supplies
from Russia, we will not be able to cool our houses with what energy sources we have besides solar. More solar is better for price and climate. and, utlimatesly, our very lives depend upon it.
April 28, 2022 at 2:00 am
We still have a $30 minimum charge with Duke Energy, negating any incentive to save power. I am over by over 200kw for April, but I will still pay the $30 minimum.
April 28, 2022 at 8:58 am
I had net metering at my prior home. I found that FPL did pay me for the extra power my solar system provided to grid but the amount they paid me was not the amount they charged for when it was sold to their non solar customers. Most i ever received was about $12.00. The real winners are the finance companies their long term loans net them so much interest it is astounding.
April 28, 2022 at 10:24 am
FPL spins a good myth about solar costs them money, yet it is not the case. I have 15kw of solar and I should be paid for what I produce, just like the utilities. It offsets their need to build more plants, and helps distribute the grid.
DeSatinis did the right thing, FL needs to grow solar as fast as it can, it is just too logical.
We should outlaw electric water heaters and move to heat pump design , it is way more efficient.
April 28, 2022 at 10:26 am
Whats next. Are we going to have to Tesla too? Give me a break.
Go Gov. DeSantis. Great work for the people.
April 28, 2022 at 2:46 pm
Imagine being an egg farmer. When you consider all of your costs for the land, buildings, feed, etc. your cost per dozen is $1, so you charge $2 to cover costs and make a profit. Then the government passes a program where you have to buy all eggs from all area hobby farmers with a couple of chickens and pay them $2 per dozen. This is what net metering is for utilities. They build, maintain and operate all the infrastructure for solar electricity to be used by others, then are forced to buy solar at retail and sell it at the exact same cost. This is the view from the other side.
George C Markos
April 29, 2022 at 3:19 pm
Our utilities promote solar panels because they need the additional resource.
Get another fossil fuel nut like Obama that shuts down oil and coal production and you will wish you had solar panels.
April 29, 2022 at 4:02 am
Dipstick Dion DuhSantis pivoting like a weather vane again. Not a real republican. Solar? What’s next? Pandering to the left with universal income and rent coupons?
April 29, 2022 at 8:47 am
This is not a valid comparison. Net metering is not about residential solar owners making money on their production. In fact, the current law does not incentivize this at all. Net metering is about providing a mechanism to bank excess production and get an equivalent credit at a later time. However, you only get an equivalent credit up to what you actually use. If you have leftover credit at the end of the year they pay out at the wholesale rate. In addition, solar owners still pay the base connection charge, which should be covering at least some of the infrastructure costs.
The nature of solar is that its not consistent so generation doesn’t match usage. The power company gets the benefit of having access to excess production during peak hours for no investment and no cost. The solar owner typically gets it back during off peak hours.
Don’t Look Up
April 29, 2022 at 4:00 pm
Excellent summary. Thanks.
George C Markos
April 29, 2022 at 3:16 pm
Good for the Governor. This is like charging us for miles driven because of the electric cars now on the market.
I worked for three utilities and they need the solar industries to keep from spending millions more to keep up with the demand for power.
May 3, 2022 at 2:24 pm
If the large utility companies would see that roof tops are better than “solar fields” it would be a win-win for everyone. Why take acres of land and clear it to create a place to put solar panels when the clearing has already been done to create roof tops? In addition, if the utilities worked co-operatively with homeowners to build many more roof top solar homes, the electricity would be available quickly and less expensively than creating a “solar field”. Adding more panels to a roof top to provide more electricity than a home needs could be a boon for the utilities. All the excess would go back to the utilities through net metering.
May 5, 2022 at 11:06 am
It’s funny when people try to give a complicated, confusing economic explanation to something very simple.
Energy generation by solar is a direct competitor to utilities who are used to running a monopoly on a geographic area.
The utilities are no different than anyone else – they are interested in pursuing their own individual self interest. That’s basic capitalism and free market. Don’t forget that. FPL trying to insert the word “subsidized” into the conversation when it isn’t a subsidy at all and pretending to be on the side of the consumer is laughable. They are simply trying to pivot non-solar customers against ones that have solar because there is no other way to justify legislation against obvious competition. Every customer, including ones with solar, pays a fee to be connected to the grid and cover depreciation of infrastructure. They know the end game is if everyone eventually has solar that will be the only line item fee they can charge, unless they use forceful legislation.
They don’t like the idea of not being able to charge for electricity generation which is where all the $ comes from.
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