The House on Wednesday, March 2, passed a controversial plan that would change rules for rooftop solar energy. The issue centers on what is known as “net metering,” which involves the interplay between utilities and rooftop solar owners, including credits that utilities provide for electricity generated by rooftop solar systems. Supporters of the plan (HB 741) contend that the state’s current rules result in people without rooftop solar systems subsidizing rooftop-solar owners.
“The math doesn’t work in the current system,” Rep. Alex Andrade, R-Pensacola, said during a debate Wednesday. But opponents argue that the proposed changes would hurt the rooftop solar industry and cause job losses because it would reduce the financial incentives for homeowners to have solar systems.
“We should be the capital of solar energy on this planet,” Rep. Felicia Robinson, D-Miami Gardens, said. People who own rooftop solar systems are required to hook up to utility systems and are able to sell excess electricity and receive bill credits in return. Under a 2008 rule approved by the Public Service Commission, monthly credits are provided at utilities’ retail rates. An important part of the bill would change that to ultimately providing credits at what are known as “full avoided cost” rates, which could reduce the amounts going to rooftop solar owners. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lawrence McClure, R-Dover, would phase in the credit changes over a series of years. The House voted 83-31 to pass the bill. A similar Senate bill (SB 1024) has been approved by committees and is ready to go before the full Senate.