Net metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own power from solar panels to feed the excess back into the grid. This reduces utility bills. Electric companies, on the other hand, fear they will lose money as a result, which makes them unhappy. As a result, utilities in Florida are attempting to rescind net metering. As a solution, the town of Green Cove Springs, Florida, has approved legislation. This was to reduce its net metering benefits by half and extend them to surrounding areas.
In the great majority of net metering situations, any modifications to compensation are made at the state level. This was with localities, particularly those with populations under 10,000. Some examples are Green Cove Springs, seldom taking the burden into their own hands.
As it now stands, the legislation reduces consumers’ net metering export credit from eight cents per kWh. This is to four cents per kWh. Local solar supporters have criticized the rule. However, this was by claiming that decreasing the credit will confuse existing customer payback calculations and discourage others from investing in solar in the future.
Florida’s net metering
Florida was one of 47 states with a net metering rule, which allows solar homes to receive a credit for power given back to the grid. Furthermore, Florida’s policy was initiated by an executive order issued by Governor Charlie Crist in 2007 and was enshrined in Florida statute in 2019.
What was the problem?
Amendment 1, a utility-backed effort to limit rooftop solar expansion, was rejected by Florida voters in 2016. Despite the No vote in 2016, major utilities in Florida that use fossil fuels continue to oppose the proposal.
Florida utilities believed that net metering from solar was forcing them and their stockholders to lose money. However, according to Mike Morina, executive director of the Florida Home Partnership, who wrote in the “Tampa Bay Times” in January, a utility front group called Energy Fairness produced a report alleging that net metering is unfair to customers. Morina wrote:
“Florida has room for growth on solar; there are fewer than 60,000 net-metered systems in the state. As solar grows, it helps avoid the need to build expensive power plants, making it a win-win for everyone.”
I don’t live in Florida, so why should I care?
It is the Sunshine State — it currently holds the rank of ‘third’ among states in terms of solar power production — and it should be doing everything it can to encourage increased solar adoption. However, the recent net metering repeal is likely to deter future solar investment in Florida. However, even local solar advocates in Florida have protested the new net metering law, stating that reducing the credit will confuse existing customer payback calculations and discourage potential solar investment.
“I don’t live in Florida. Why should I care?” you might be thinking. A couple reasons:
Florida, for one, has a population of 21.48 million people. That is a lot of people – and a lot of energy use and emissions. And this impacts not only every American, but the whole planet.
Second, all states should aggressively promote the transition to renewable energy. Virginia, for example, is compelling its utilities to use green energy and holding them responsible through landmark legislation approved in March. Dominion Energy Virginia must achieve carbon-free status by 2045, while Appalachian Power must achieve carbon-free status by 2050.