The rooftop solar bill was a giant misstep

The net metering bill, HB 741, was recently passed by the House and Senate and will be sent to the governor’s office for signing. One wonders who this bill is really supposed to help and what problems this bill even solved. The legislation, backed by Florida Power & Light, allows the utility company to reduce the rate at which it buys excess electricity from homes with solar panels.

Net metering was a system put in place to incentivize people to install solar panels on their homes. Offset costs have helped residents afford solar panels. The bill passed in the House with a vote of 83 to 31 and in the Senate with a vote of 24 to 15.

An ad campaign was launched claiming that the supposed problem this bill was supposed to solve was that wealthy homeowners with solar panels were being subsidized by Florida residents without solar power; and that this bill would allow residents without solar power to stop subsidizing the wealthy.

However, Democratic and Republican leaders said no independent study had been done to assess whether there was such a subsidy. Without any data, it is unclear to what extent this alleged problem even existed. In addition, some heads of state have pointed out during committee hearings that this bill is premature. Less than one percent of homes have solar panels installed.

This makes it questionable how much of a problem this could have been for utility customers. Perhaps the existing net metering system should have remained in place for at least long enough for more residents to have access to solar power, because that was its goal. Now it’s gone, with less than one percent of consumers having solar panels.

The number of Florida residents installing solar panels on rooftops is sure to drop. The existing net metering system allowed low-income residents to install solar panels, as they could have used credits from the sale of their electricity to help pay for the solar panels. Under the new system, it appears that only the wealthiest residents will now be able to afford solar power.

While the advertising campaign generally said that this bill would help low- and middle-income residents, it seems it will do the opposite in practice. Fewer inhabitants will now be able to generate their own electricity and will have no choice but to buy electricity from the electricity company.

Florida should encourage residents to get rooftop solar panels for a multitude of reasons. Rooftop solar gives residents more personal autonomy and self-sufficiency by allowing them to produce their own electricity. In addition, there is a need to encourage renewable energy to mitigate climate change.

Since almost all of the public testimony for this bill was negative, the bill will result in fewer people being able to install solar panels on their homes, and the bill will kill jobs for small businesses that install solar panels. . Who did this bill ultimately help?

Michael Manias is a third-year law student at Florida State University. He hopes to pursue a career in Florida state policy making.

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