Legislation filed yesterday in the Florida Legislature aims to end net metering for rooftop solar customers, effectively shutting down this key sector of the state economy and undermining energy freedom for tens of thousands of Floridians.

Republican Sen. Jennifer Bradley introduced SB 1024, which aims to “revise and provide legislative findings relating to the redesign of net metering to avoid cross-subsidization of electric service costs between classes of ratepayers” and require the Public Service Commission to propose new net metering rules that comply with specified criteria by a certain date; while authorizing certain customers who own or lease renewable generation before a specified date to remain under the existing net metering rules for a specified time.

National and state solar advocates are calling on lawmakers to reject this legislation and allow the state’s rooftop solar market to continue growing.

“This is a tired tactic that utilities have used to maintain their monopoly grip on electricity markets. Net metering is a popular program that gives people the right to choose the energy that works for them, provides benefits to all ratepayers and creates thousands of energy jobs across Florida. The bill is another of a long line of cynical efforts carried out in the state of Florida at the behest of monopoly utilities to the detriment of Florida residents,” said Will Giese, southeast regional director for SEIA, in a statement. “Stripping Floridians of their right to choose solar is simply bad policy. The bill does not consider the many benefits that solar provides to all ratepayers and it will weaken one of the fastest-growing sectors in Florida’s economy. Florida has the second-largest solar workforce in the country and ranks third among states for installed solar capacity. The state is poised to maintain its solar leadership in the years ahead, but this bill would stamp out that economic growth just as it is ramping up.”

Justin Vandenbroeck, president of the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA), said his organization is still analyzing the full impact of the legislation.

“Initial modeling suggests this plan has the potential to set the rooftop solar industry back nearly a decade, erasing thousands of jobs, ending consumer choice and eliminating savings, along with the resiliency benefits that rooftop solar offers to Floridians,” Vandenbroeck said in a statement. “We look forward to working with state policymakers to protect local jobs, consumer choice and the economic development produced through the vibrant solar market in the Sunshine State.”

News item from SEIA

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