Saturday Dec 03, 2022

Have solar panels? A proposed new law could negate most energy cost savings. Here’s how – The Ledger


Florida Legislature: Is state on verge of losing solar power initiatives?

In this excerpt from the Florida Pulse, reporters discuss legislation that could kill incentives for solar power in the state.

Rob Landers, Florida Today

Jason Wikman did his homework before installing solar panels on the roof of his Dixieland home. 

After his research, he decided to finance the project, agreeing to pay $10,000 for a modest 5-kilowatt solar array. 

He had planned to pay off the loan with the savings from lower electric bills before the panels’ 20-year warranties ran out.  

As his panels were being installed, however, Lakeland Electric decided to institute a peak-demand pricing scheme targeting rate payers generating solar energy on their rooftops.

That policy cut into his savings on his monthly bills, but he would still cover some of his loan payment. He figured there would still be a financial gain after paying off the loan in about 10 years instead of 8.5 years.

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Then, the House and Senate in Tallahassee passed a bill during the recent legislative session to drastically cut net metering, calling it a subsidy for rate payers. 

Net metering gives customers with solar panels a monthly credit when they generate more electricity than they need and feed the grid with electricity.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill that would drastically reduce net metering credits by 2029.The Senate approved the legislation by a 24-15 vote on March 7, following House passage by a 83-31 vote on March 2. 

A recent Mason Dixon poll shows that 84% of Florida voters support net metering. However, if the bill is signed by DeSantis, the changes will negate most of the cost savings associated with customers’ investments in solar while making it more difficult for homeowners and businesses to afford a transition to solar. 

“It would make more sense to pull solar off my roof” if the governor signs the measure, Wikman said. 

His latest calculations take into account the billing changes since he installed solar panels, showing his return on investment would be 32 years – more than a decade beyond the solar panel manufacturer’s warranty, when the panel’s electricity production can drop due to wear and tear.  

“It doesn’t make sense to do solar in Lakeland,” he said.

Solar politics 

State Rep. Lawrence McClure, R-Dover, filed House Bill 471, and Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, carried it through the Senate, according to Florida Politics.   

“This bill is fair. It’s a thoughtful glide path to get …….


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