Protecting Our Environment

Homeowners participating in net metering see significantly lower electricity bills

Strong Economic Benefits

The expansion of net metering would not only protect the environment, but make consumers economically independent.

Net Metering Expansion

We Can:

  • Make Floridians more economically independent

  • Expand renewable energy

  • Slow climate change

Net metering has benefited the environment and population of Florida since its beginning in 2008.[1] Protecting the stability of local grids and expanding the reach of sustainable energy, it's a valuable tool in addressing climate change while also providing reduced energy bills to consumers. However, HB 741 in the Florida Legislature threatens this, proposing to invoke unnecessary charges on consumers and make it more expensive to use solar energy.[2] The office of Agriculture Commissioner proposes a remedy to this, using an official investigation to quell the worries of net metering opponents and make official recommendations to legislators to prevent this harmful legislation from passing.

Net metering, also known as NEM, is a tool used to widen the coverage of solar energy and reduce strain on local grids. The principle is that homeowners will use solar panels to collect as much solar energy as possible and give excess energy back to local grids. [3] This will earn them credits that can be used to offset energy bills that occur when less solar energy is collected (at night, on cloudy days, etc.).[4] The excess energy is fed back into the local grid will then be used elsewhere so it doesn’t go to waste. [5] This concept is beneficial for both the individual homeowner and the community. Homeowners participating in net metering see significantly lower electricity bills due to the credits they’ve earned, and the community sees a less strained and more environmentally friendly local grid.[6]

 

Net metering has been prevalent in Florida for over a decade, beginning in 2008. Since then, this state has seen a drastic upturn in renewable energy system interconnections, growing by 10,000% since net metering was initiated.[7] While the net metering initiative is important nationwide, Florida’s net metering status is incredibly important. With an especially high amount of sunshine compared to the rest of the country[8] and threats from climate change,[9] net metering is a step in the right direction towards a more environmentally conscious state. Surveys report that 84% of all Floridian voters support net metering, seeing the value to the individual and community. [10]

 

Although this policy will aid our community and our environment, and has overwhelming support of the Floridian people, it's faced a struggle within our government. In November of 2021, HB 741 was filed in the Florida legislature.[11] This bill would allow for the devaluation of solar energy in Florida as well as allow for additional costs to be placed on the consumer.[12] This bill ignited statewide outrage, with a nonpartisan call for it to be vetoed. A recent survey reports that regardless of political party or age the vast majority of voters were against this new proposal, with 82% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats not in favor.[13] The legislation passed in the House and the Senate but was vetoed by Governor Desantis.[14] The bill has since been sent back and requires a ⅔ majority in both houses to override the veto.[15] In the meantime, we must do what we can to prevent an overruling and expand net metering, to protect our citizens and environment.

 

[1]  https://www.solarunitedneighbors.org/florida/learn-the-issues-in-florida/net-metering-in-florida/

[2]  https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2022/04/27/breaking-desantis-vetoes-anti-rooftop-solar-bill/

[3] https://www.solar.com/learn/net-metering-policies-in-florida/

[4] https://na.panasonic.com/us/green-living/what-net-metering-10-common-questions-how-it-works

[5] https://www.forbes.com/advisor/home-improvement/what-is-net-metering/

[6] https://www.forbes.com/advisor/home-improvement/what-is-net-metering/

[7] https://www.solarunitedneighbors.org/florida/learn-the-issues-in-florida/net-metering-in-florida/

[8] https://electrek.co/2022/04/27/84-of-florida-voters-support-solar-net-metering-but-gov-desantis-will-gut-it-anyway/

[9] https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/environment/2022-02-28/florida-is-already-seeing-climate-change-new-global-report-says-it-could-worsen

[10] https://electrek.co/2022/04/27/84-of-florida-voters-support-solar-net-metering-but-gov-desantis-will-gut-it-anyway/4

[11] https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/741

[12] https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2022/04/27/breaking-desantis-vetoes-anti-rooftop-solar-bill/

[13] https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2022/04/27/breaking-desantis-vetoes-anti-rooftop-solar-bill/

[14] https://electrek.co/2022/04/27/84-of-florida-voters-support-solar-net-metering-but-gov-desantis-will-gut-it-anyway/

[15] https://electrek.co/2022/04/27/84-of-florida-voters-support-solar-net-metering-but-gov-desantis-will-gut-it-anyway/

Education

So, What Can We Do?!

The Commissioner of Agriculture can: protect the net metering policies in place, work towards resolving the conflicts of legislators, and expand the practice. This will bring us as a state to a point where we can be environmentally conscious and create policies that benefit our community while reaching an agreement with those who oppose such policies.

 

To accomplish both of these feats, it's necessary to address the concerns of opposition to guarantee that the HB 741 veto stands. Legislators who voted in favor of HB 741 rationalize their decision by saying that net metering policies cause non-solar energy users to “subsidize” those who use net metering. However, this is not backed up by any evidence of increased burden to these non-solar users.[1] To prevent an overruling of the veto, it's necessary to prove the lack of burden to non-solar users and placate legislators who have doubts.

 

Under Chapter 570.07(1) of the Florida Statutes, the Agriculture Commissioner has the ability to make recommendations to both the Governor and the Legislature when appropriate. The office also has the ability to conduct pertinent investigations, under Chapter 570.07(3) of the Florida Statutes. To prevent the overruling of the HB 741 veto, the department can meet with the Florida Legislature to discuss and recommend that, if proved to not affect non-solar users, net metering policies in Florida should be allowed to continue due to the immense benefits to the environment and community.

 

To prove the lack of a negative effect, this office can conduct an official investigation into net metering practices. Provided that this investigation follows suit with prior examinations of net metering, the Florida Legislature will be expected to follow the official recommendation of this office and uphold the veto, allowing net metering practices to continue benefiting Florida. The expansion of net metering would not only protect the environment, but make consumers economically independent.

 

[1] https://electrek.co/2022/04/27/84-of-florida-voters-support-solar-net-metering-but-gov-desantis-will-gut-it-anyway/

Overwhelming Support

Surveys report that 84% of all Floridian voters support net metering, seeing the value to the individual and community.