The rooftop solar industry in Florida received a major win recently when the governor of the state Ron DeSantis vetoed a controversial bill that would have destroyed the solar sector. Changes proposed in the bill would have meant an end to the state’s thriving solar industry.
How the Bill Would Have Destroyed Florida’s Solar Industry
HB 741 was a bill that attempted to crudely deal with concerns regarding net metering. According to its supporters, the state needed to stop subsidizing people who use rooftop solar. Its opponents said that the measure would cripple Florida’s solar sector.
The governor decided to veto the bill when it was presented to him. According to the governor, the amount that would have been recovered by utilities was speculative and it would have been borne by all consumers. In the bill, the main issue of contention was that between July 2022 and December 2023, more people than expected would begin to install rooftop solar. The result was that utilities would lose a lot of revenue. It would have given them broad powers to recoup their revenue from a broader customer base.
The governor also noted that the US was experiencing some of the worst inflation in 40 years. He noted that consumers were experiencing steep increases in the price of groceries, gas, and energy bills. According to the governor, the state should not further burden citizens with higher bills.
Those who opposed the bill welcomed the veto. They believe that it will boost renewable energy in the state. One positive benefit of this bill is that it will retain solar jobs in the state. Most of these jobs would have been quickly wiped out if they had passed. Besides that, opponents of the bill note that it will ensure residents can continue to combat climate change while giving Floridians access to affordable power.
How Net Metering Works in Florida
In Florida, net metering is a system that governs how utilities and owners of rooftop solar interact. Utilities have to provide credits to those that install rooftop solar. Those with rooftop solar have to hook up their systems to the grid to sell excess power. They are then sent credits in returns. These credits are provided at the retail rates of the utility. If the bill had passed it would have cut the amount that utilities have to send rooftop solar owners.
Its supporters said the utilities were unfairly burdened with the high costs of operating the grid. They said that the credit system had shifted the cost to those without solar. The bill was backed by Florida Power & Light (FPL), which ran ads on TV urging lawmakers to pass it.
For now, the bill has failed. Floridians can continue to benefit from incentives provided to them when they install solar power. It will ensure that Florida, which receives an abundant amount of sunshine each year, can continue to benefit from this free resource. While it has failed, the bill generated publicity around net metering, which could get more people interested in using solar energy.