The legislation undermines consumer choice and jeopardizes 9,000 Florida jobs
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Solar Energy Industries Association urges Gov. Ron DeSantis to take a stand for Floridians’ freedom of choice by vetoing a bill that would gut the benefits of rooftop solar power, denying many homeowners that energy option while jeopardizing an industry that supports more than 40,000 jobs across the state.
At a time when Florida residents are already paying record-high utility bills and getting hit at the gas pumps, the legislation (HB 741) would make solar electricity even more expensive by effectively ending a policy known as “net metering.” The bill, which has cleared the Legislature after being promoted almost entirely by monopoly utilities, would put rooftop solar out of reach for countless Floridians. The rooftop solar industry in Florida supports more than 40,000 jobs across the state, and experience in other states indicates that the legislation would threaten upwards of 9,000 of them.
“Now more than ever, Floridians deserve the right to make their own energy choices, with access to lower-cost power they can produce at home,” said Josh Kearns, Secretary & Treasurer of Florida Solar Energy Industries Association. “Here in the Sunshine State, our laws should encourage homeowners to use solar power, but instead this legislation would harm consumers and hard-working men and women, all to put more money in the pockets of the big utilities.”
A recent poll shows that 84% of Florida voters support net metering. However, the changes envisioned by HB 741 will negate much of the cost-savings associated with customers’ investments in solar while making it extremely difficult for new homeowners and businesses to afford a transition to solar. This will lead to less energy freedom and higher utility bills for Floridians.
“The legislation would allow utility companies to reap profits from energy generated by homeowners who have made the investment into rooftop solar. It would allow utilities to charge excessive fees on over 100,000 solar customers around Florida, which effectively creates a new tax on energy,” said Ben Millar, CEO of Sun Harvest Energy. “Ultimately, this bill would rid Floridians of their energy choices, create new fees and taxes, and destroy jobs.”
Other states have attempted similar net metering policy changes, resulting in negative consequences for their residents. After Nevada gutted its net metering program, that state experienced a significant loss of jobs and businesses. As just one example, two weeks after Nevada enacted its legislation, a major rooftop solar company announced it would cease operations in the state and eliminate 550 jobs. The following year, the Nevada Legislature voted to reinstate net metering due to the significant loss in jobs and economic impact, along with immense public outcry.
For more information about the effects of HB 741 on the solar industry and how you can help is available at www.flaseia.org/toolkit.