DeSantis Vetoes Controversial Rooftop Solar Bill

DeSantis Vetoes Controversial Rooftop Solar Bill

By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — In a win for the rooftop-solar industry and environmental groups, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday vetoed a controversial bill that would have made major changes in rules for rooftop-solar energy.

The bill (HB 741) dealt with a somewhat-wonky issue known as “net metering.” But it drew a fierce debate during this year’s legislative session, as supporters said the state needed to end subsidies for people with rooftop-solar systems and opponents contended the measure would cripple the rooftop-solar industry.

DeSantis’ veto message focused on part of the bill that dealt with the potential that more property owners than expected would install rooftop-solar systems between July 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2023 — before key changes in the bill would start to take effect in 2024.

If such higher-than-expected rooftop solar use occurred during the 18-month period, utilities would have been allowed to seek to recoup lost revenues from their broader customer bases. The veto message said the “amount that may be recovered under this provision is speculative and would be borne by all customers.”

“Given that the United States is experiencing its worst inflation in 40 years and that consumers have seen steep increases in the price of gas and groceries, as well as escalating bills, the state of Florida should not contribute to the financial crunch that our citizens are experiencing,” DeSantis’ veto message said.

Opponents of the bill quickly praised the veto, saying it would help efforts to boost renewable energy.

“We applaud Gov. DeSantis’ decision to veto this bad bill and be a champion for #solar jobs,” the Florida Wildlife Federation said in a Twitter post. “We must continue to work together to increase access to solar and other #renewableenergy resources to combat the climate crisis and provide Floridians with affordable energy solutions.”

Net metering is a system that deals with the interplay between utilities and rooftop-solar owners, including credits that utilities provide for electricity generated by rooftop systems.

Rooftop-solar owners are required to hook up to utility systems and are able to sell excess electricity and receive bill credits in return. Under rules approved in 2008 by the Florida Public Service Commission, monthly credits are provided at utilities’ retail rates. An important part of the bill would have changed that to ultimately providing the credits at what are known as “full avoided cost” rates, which would reduce the amounts going to rooftop-solar owners.

Supporters of the bill, which would have been phased in over several years, said changes are needed because utilities continue to face the overall costs of operating the electrical grid. They said the current system of rooftop-solar credits has shifted more overall utility costs to people who do not have solar systems.

During a March 7 debate, Senate bill sponsor Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said the current system is “regressive,” as it leads to the vast majority of utility customers subsidizing rooftop-solar owners.

“This bill is fair,” Bradley said. “It’s a thoughtful glide path to get us to a no-subsidy (system).”

The bill had backing from Florida Power & Light, which ran television ads urging lawmakers to pass it. FPL said in a statement after the veto that it is “always working to deliver clean, reliable energy while keeping customer bills affordable.”

“We remain committed to finding a more equitable net metering solution for all Floridians,” the statement said. “FPL is leading the nation’s largest solar expansion and we will continue to advance solar that is cost-effective for all our customers.”

But the bill faced a massive outcry during the legislative session from the rooftop-solar industry and environmental groups.

The opponents argued it would take away financial incentives for property owners to install rooftop systems. That, they said, would hurt the rooftop-solar industry, while also dealing a blow to increasing the use of renewable energy.

“Thanks to @GovRonDeSantis for vetoing HB741 Net Metering this PM! This harmful bill would have had a chilling effect on FL’s rooftop #solar industry when it is still in its infancy,” Julie Wraithmell, executive director of Audubon Florida tweeted Wednesday. “Great news for renewables, consumers + meeting the challenge of climate change in FL.”

— News Service staff writer Jim Turner contributed to this report.

14 Responses to "DeSantis Vetoes Controversial Rooftop Solar Bill"

  1. @ Lena… I take it you attended the same Econ 101 class that Sandy Cortez did. Solarizing your home is not cheap at all, and it takes years to recover the enormous costs. And by the time you hit that point, you’ll have to replace your aged panels, upgrade your system… and start all over again. The same applies to electric vehicles. By the time you pay off the expensive car, it’s time to drop in a new $6000 battery.

    I have no problem with anyone choosing that path mind you… but taxpayer subsidies come in all shapes and sizes – and yes; the solar industry gets them as well… remember Solyndra? Who do you think is paying for the solar system the City built and incorporated into the local grid?

  2. For anyone who can’t read between the lines, the power companies opposed rooftop solar because individuals using their own power and selling it back to the utilities are a threat to their insane profit margins. You are not subsidizing anyone else’s solar. It’s a lie by the power companies.

    The power companies are putting up their own solar farms because it’s fast and cheap. The profit margin is amazing and it’s green tech so no one can argue. It’s a good thing.

    If you have any common sense, you’ll hook up your own solar, off-grid with a battery so you can have power when everyone else on the grid doesn’t.

  3. @ Snidely…

    You are much too kind to use the reference “resident” I use trafficker…

    I never bought into the comment that Gillium, fake news, and misinformation voters (mis)used in order to distort reality. Apparently God did not either because on election night Florida received a wonderful blessing… DeSantis elected Governor…

    You don’t have to worry about Governor DeSantis taking any bait because he is a Starfish.

  4. @ Snidely… I think you’re on to something there. When I first saw this story, I thought… what? Flavored vapes are storming the market without any pushback. So… is cauliflower lung from vaping better than lung cancer from smoking?

    I agree… DON’T TAKE THE BAIT

  5. @ Pat this is a vengfull attack on the Newport smoking Corn Pop by our Resident.
    On a serious note:
    I have noticed Gov. DeSaints quickly responding to every crazy notion pushed out by the Resident’s administration. On this Menthol ban issue even if its true – I implore DeSaints to not react – just let it lay quietly where ever tne resident’s handlers drop it. It smells like a trick to get DeSaints to put his foot in his mouth like he did with that Andrew Gillium “monkey it up” comment which almost kept DeSaints from being elected.
    It’s a trap Ron dont take the bait.

  6. Check this out: today Resident Biden’s FDA outlawed Menthol Cigarettes. And I thought all Biden did was watch Matlock, drink Ensure and read what the teleprompter says. I’ve got to stock up on Newports.

  7. This is a step in the right direction. He is not stupid nor is he far right and against the world. I imagine if the media has its way, they will find a way to discredit him for doing this even though it was for them in the first place. People think he is homophobic and far right, but you don’t live in South Florida if you think that. The Florida keys are an example of teaching children to be gay and even though I have nothing against those born differently, the steps he took prevented those born as heterosexuals from being indoctorated into believing that they were not. Teaching sexuality in a classroom circumvents the parents from explaining things to their children and allows all the wackos to convert the pliable minds of children away from the eyes of their family. I’m glad he is fighting the shame strategy and I would greatly appreciate it if people would read what he’s doing instead of listening to a 30-second article on a mass media network to be told what to think. I’m also a little upset about these corporations such as Disney, Google, Facebook and the list goes on and on, being able to judge and punish American lawmakers and anyone that disagrees with them without recourse. Every time incorporation that influences millions of people takes a side on heated debates involving state and federal level politics, they crossed the line. If they make rules / policies discriminating against one side or the other they should be held liable to the highest degree. Don’t get me wrong, this is for politicians as well. If a politician that Americans have faith in spreads lies, deceives the American people and uses negative/hateful terminology as their pedestal, they should be criminally liable as well. That’s a pipe dream though, just like John Lennon’s imagine, mankind will never get along like the federation in Star Trek and we will never fix our system when the same lawmakers are making laws to excuse themselves of any wrongdoing. A democracy my ass, your vote counts my ass, they work for us my ass, you’re free living in a free country my ass. Colleges teach students to protest and make their opinion heard. Hold hands and walk down the streets in front of the capitol, it’s an experience you’ll never regret. The problem with this today is that the people marching down the streets have no clue whatsoever of what they are against. It’s okay though, because the lawmakers have made mass media outlets that will tell them everything they need to know. The point of this is, there is no perfect politician, no valiant hero running for office. Even if they had good intentions when they started politics, absolute power leads to absolute corruption and nobody is immune. The good news is that very few politicians get broken by that system, because most of them didn’t care in the first place and only want to be in power for a slice of the pie. Until the thousand page bills get broken down and analyzed piece by piece by everyone with an opinion, we will always be oblivious to what our opinions should be. Politics is a favor system, if you want something done that makes you popular and reelectable, you’re going to have to cave on something unethical and immoral to get the support you need. It’s always been this way, throughout recorded history, and far before that the powers that be have stepped on one man to enrich the lives of another. The problem we have right now, however, is the unprecedented lack of oversight and repercussions our leadership face for failing ALL of the people.

  8. I have no problem with anyone who wants to install solar panels and convert their home to self sustainability. If solar can compete in the free market, so be it. The problem – as always – is government meddling and taxpayer funded subsidies. Allow me to elaborate, if you will…

    1. If you wish to covert “your property” to solar, have at it. However, you eat the total cost of the conversion. No taxpayer subsidies; No customer subsidies… full stop
    2. If your converted home produces a surplus of energy, fine… store it, waste it, dump it… but no buy back provision… full stop
    3. No requirement to connect solar homes to the grid. If you choose to disconnect from the grid, that’s on you. I have no doubt we’ll see you on cloudy days to reconnect to the grid… all costs associated with the aforementioned is on you… full stop
    4. If you want to formally and fiscally compete against the energy sector using “your” homes solar system, and thereby “profit” from “your” solar system… then file the required paperwork, secure a FEIN #, pay the required quarterly corporate taxes, staff up (particularly in Customer Service), run the lines, and compete against your neighbor who might do the same, but sell their product cheaper.


    … as I noted… we’ll see you during hurricane season.

  9. Solar electric effective billing rate in Tallahassee is 13.6% higher than ‘regular’ electric. Fact…not opinion. I looked it up at, Utilities Home, Electric Rates.

  10. Keep in mind the cost of removing the solar system every 20 years to replace your roof. If you’re going to install a roof top solar system you should install a metal roof first.

  11. I will never have Roof Top Solar. He needs to broaden the scope and include Pergola’s as well. My whole back yard get all Sun all day long so I want to build a Pergola to cover the Patio that I will be building soon and cover it with Solar Panels..

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