Details of Florida’s Net Metering Bill
Both chambers of Florida’s Legislature passed a bill in early March that would effectively end all legal incentives for installing rooftop solar on homes. Having passed both houses, House Bill 741 now awaits Governor Ron DeSantis to either approve or veto the bill. Details of the Bill
Opponents of the bill claim that expanding rooftop solar in the sunshine state is important for the fight against climate change. According to them, it eliminates the only pro-solar policy in Florida. Under the new bill, the Public Service Commission (PSC) is directed to change net metering requirements. Customers will now pay the full cost for electric service instead of receiving subsidies from non-net metering customers. Additionally, distributed energy sold to the grid would be credited below retail rates. It also introduces the possibility of net metering customers receiving fixed charge bills and other fees that would drive up the cost of distributed solar.
How Net Metering Works in Florida
To understand this bill, it is important to understand how net metering works in Florida. In the state, net metering is how customers that connect approved, renewable energy such as solar to the grid, can buy and sell electricity to the utility company. Essentially, it allows Floridians to lower their monthly energy bill if their solar system produces more power than they are using. The extra energy is usually discounted from the monthly bill or to a future bill within the same calendar year. How Net Metering Would be Phased Out According to the bill any energy credits created by a renewable energy system will need to have an approved net metering application for them to count. For those that receive approval from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2025, the energy bill would be offset by 75% of the credited amount. After 2025, for those applications approved from January 1, 2026, to December 31, 2026, the energy bill would be offset by 60%, from 2027 to 2028, it would drop to 50%. In January 2029, the PSC would be prompted to draft new net metering rules for Florida. Any application for solar credits would be approved at the previously set rate for the next 20 years. After that, utilities could petition the PSC for the right to impose new customers who benefited from net metering credits and owned or leased a solar system. At that point, customers would have to pay the full cost for energy, and may not be subsidized by other users of the utility’s power. What the Industry Thinks
The Florida solar industry supports over 40,000 jobs in the state. If passed, 900 of these jobs would face the threat of being abolished. One of the claims made is that net metering causes those not using solar energy to subsidize those using solar power. However, there is no evidence that this is true. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, most of Florida’s solar industry could disappear with the passing of the bill. Experts point out that in other states such as Nevada, where a similar bill was passed, it caused massive job losses. The next year, Nevada voted to reinstate net metering.