On September 17th, the Florida Public Service Commision, invited representatives from the four investor-owned utility companies, as well as Solar Advocacy groups, to testify on Florida’s incentive for rooftop solar initiatives. It was an informative meeting, with advocates from: Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co, Vote Solar, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and the Solar Energy Industries Association department in Florida. Committee members also received over 16,000 emails and letters urging Florida lawmakers not to alter, or remove the program. This was a massive outpouring of support for the incentive from the general public. The incentive in question is Florida’s Net Metering, or NEM rate. This is the process that allows consumers who generate some or all of their own electricity to use that electricity anytime, instead of when it is generated through solar panels.
In their September 17, 2020 workshop, after listening to both sides of the argument, the Florida Public Service Commission decided that Florida’s current Net Metering Program will remain the same as it has been for the last decade. The Committee voted to take no actions to change anything about the current Florida Net Metering incentive program.
Over 60,000 Florida residents and small businesses participate in the Net Metering incentive program, so any change to the Net Metering incentive program will have a significant impact on Florida’s progression toward clean sustainable energy. The public was not invited to the workshop, but the PSC did allow write-ins. The PSC received over 16,000 letters, with most of the letters advocating no change to the current Net Metering incentive program.
The Debate Over Net Metering
The main concern for Utility companies is the customers who don’t install rooftop panels have to offset, and make up the cost, that was saved by those that do install the rooftop panels. The difference, that was then being subsidized, must now be made up by the company, and consequently the non-solar consumers. Advocates for Solar on the other hand argued that this Net Metering rate was actually quite modest. They claimed it was absolutely necessary for increasing Solar installations, and dismissed the companies’ complaints of having to constantly upgrade equipment; companies are supposed to modernize in order to compete and thrive.
The Decision On Net Metering
According to the Tampa Bay Times reporter Malena Corolla, “Florida’s primary incentive for installing rooftop solar panels won’t be in for major changes for at least a year.” No formal decision was passed down. The incentive to keep the reduced costs and tax credits will remain until late next year. The incentive affects nearly 60,000 homes and businesses by crediting them for the extra energy produced. The Net Metering rate will continue to be discussed, and could potentially change in the coming years.
Although the commission did not make any formal decisions, they agreed to continue looking into the issues. Duke Energy and Tampa Bay Electric vocalized strong support for Solar. To learn more about the specific incentives offered in Florida, visit another article from our blog, here. Check out the articles on our blog, or visit our site, at regionsolar.co Commissioner Art Graham mentioned that if the PSC ever decides to make any changes to Net Metering, ” existing net metering customers should be grandfathered to continue as-is.” The PSC Staff also noted that Net Metering “is a conservation measure and does not represent a “sale of electricity” – Net Metering is only a billing function.”
Take Advantage of Net Metering Today
As part of the Florida community, we’re proud to stand with the local organizations that support the people and businesses through Solar. With great incentives like Net Metering and many others, there has never been a better time to make the switch to solar. To learn more about solar, connect with us at regionsolar.co and learn how you can eliminate your utility bill through Net Metering.