A ballot amendment in Florida for the creation of a competitive retail electricity market is what Florida electricity utility FPL sought retribution against in recent headlines. When pv magazine USA reported that Warren Buffet said “maybe” to a gigawatt of solar and 400 MWh of energy storage, it was legislation similar to this that was being fought against. And back in 2015, when a petition that would let regular people sell some of their own solar started gaining traction, we saw the famous “political jiu jitsu” phrase arise as Florida utilities came together to fund a fake pro-solar bill.
Sponsored by Citizens for Energy Choices, a petition – Right to Competitive Energy Market for Customers of Investor-Owned Utilities; Allowing Energy Choice – is one of 13 amendments that has gained preliminary qualification to be on the ballot when voters go to the polls in 2020. The initiative has approximately 345,000 of the 766,200 signatures needed by February 1, 2020 to get on the ballot. The initiative language must also be approved by the Florida Supreme Court, with oral arguments scheduled for August 28. Per their campaign finance page, Citizens for Energy Choices has collected just over $3 million as of the end of June.
The Ballot Summary notes (full text pdf):
Grants customers of investor-owned utilities the right to choose their electricity provider and to generate and sell electricity. Requires the Legislature to adopt laws providing for competitive wholesale and retail markets for electricity generation and supply, and consumer protections, by June 1, 2025, and repeals inconsistent statutes, regulations, and orders. Limits investor-owned utilities to construction, operation, and repair of electrical transmission and distribution systems. Municipal and cooperative utilities may opt into competitive markets.
And while the more complete text of this pending amendment didn’t specifically say anything about solar power, the document did point out that “electricity customers” will have rights to “producing electricity themselves or in association with others”, as well, “nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right of electricity customers to buy, sell, trade, or dispose of electricity”.
With this language we would see the current legal position of solar in Florida change, as currently anyone who sells electricity to anyone else within the state is to be regulated as a utility, with all of the responsibilities of a utility.
Recently, residential lease companies – starting with Sunrun, and followed by Vivint, Tesla, and Sunnova – had their residential equipment lease contracts approved by the state’s Public Service Commission. As these company’s leases for the Florida market are at a fixed price – not based directly on electricity generation – these companies were able to avoid the prohibition on sales of electricity by anyone but utilities. Equipment leasing of solar power had long been accepted in the Florida market, however, the large residential companies had skipped over the market – most likely due to murky legislative opinions.
The case docket related to this potential amendment includes comments filed by Duke Energy, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Tampa Electric Company, FPL, the State Attorney General, the President of the Florida Senate, and others. Supporters of the amendment include NRG Energy, Inc., Vistra Energy Corp., National Energy Marketers Association and The Energy Choice Coalition.
The Citizens for Energy Choice website notes that natural gas customers have been able to choose their suppliers since 1996, and estimates that this has saved those groups “billions”.
A document on the website focused on the Texas deregulation experiment (pdf), suggests that residential and commercial prices have fallen since deregulation, with competitive residential just recently catching up to the price of regulated residential, and commercial electricity falling lower in price about a decade ago.
Research by the Perryman Group estimates that if implemented in the near future, statewide competition in the Florida electric power market could generate benefits by 2030 including $8.3 billion in additional business activity and energy savings and over 90,000 jobs under conservative assumptions, with the potential for $9.7 billion in business activity and energy savings, as well as nearly 105,000 jobs.
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I hadn’t realized it was so far out, 2025. Thanks for this report as very important not just for Florida but as a model for other states.
And you can be sure the repubs assuming they are still in power though likely, will cause problems just like all the other amendments.
Such leasing based on monthly fees has always been legal as are making microgrids, etc.
And cities, counties, co-ops have always been legal too and there are many of them in Florida most costing 30% less than IOUs. Many are already moving to become munis.
St Pete, Tampa are prime targets because Duke, TECO won’t supply clean power and overcharge.
I disagree the utility shouldn’t make their own too though eventually most of not all grids will be open, free market with just wire companies as said in the amendment.
Likely they will jack up the monthly fee saying it is needed to maintain the grid but that will be a lie. And if too high, will just cause a lot of people / loads to leave the grid.
I’ve been doing offgrid diesel generator replacement for 40 yrs and just not hard, expensive. In fact about 25% of running a diesel using wind, tidal and now solar.
So I expect the system will devolve into small muni, co-ops, microgrid run by locals leaving IOUs out of it other than sell dirt cheap excess power, if they survive 10 yrs.
Todays PEI, PowerEngineering newsletter for utilities, was all about how to deal with much more RE both theirs and DG. ;^)
The next 15 yrs is going to completely change everything energy, utility will be interesting to watch, push FF , pollution , high costs over the edge. ;^)
PV Magazine should not feature a photograph showing such irresponsible module installation, even if a developer chooses to use it in their materials. Carrying a module in this manner will almost certainly create microcracks in the cells and it’s poor ergonomics for the installer (not to mention the damage likely to occur if the slightest wind sweeps through and gets a hold of the “sail” that he’s holding over his head…good thing there is not much wind in Florida). People who don’t know any better will see this and think its not unreasonable. Please choose a better photograph.
Cause micro cracks? I install solar daily and carrying it any other way for a distance will cause back problems. Have you ever carried 40-55lbs in front of you for any long distance at 35-70 panels a day? Do you use two people per panel? I doubt it Those are commercial 96 cell panels. I think this is just nitpicking at some thing you are not familiar with. I
Ryan help me out here, how can carrying a solar panel (any way) create cracks in the cells? I have LG Chem solar PV panels, the wind in this area is fairly high and I can see the cell sheet flex during high winds. No cracks, efficiency has stayed high for solar harvest for the last three years. I see no appreciable degradation of the solar array’s output. So, are there, Tier2 or Tier3 panels out there that DO crack?
It is typical for microcracks to form and not immediately show consequences, yet the resulting damage has been shown to be correlated with later reductions in performance. It is standard practice to use electro-luminescent imaging on fielded modules tested in laboratories for power rating to identify whether field handling may have contributed to any loss in power rating (which can affect warranty coverage).
Note that the point loading of a helmet (or foot if the module is stepped on) leads to higher localized stress than the relatively even loading applied by wind. I have no idea whether “Tier 1” has any bearing on susceptibility to microcracks, though higher efficiency cells are usually thinner and more easily broken. Keep in mind that you are unlikely to be able to detect microcracks by visual inspection in the field… they are indeed quite thin.
T. J. Silverman, M. Bliss, A. Abbas, T. Betts, M. Walls, and I. Repins, “Movement of Cracked Silicon Solar Cells During Module Temperature Changes,” presented at the 2019 IEEE 46th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), Chicago, IL, 2019.
M. Köntges, I. Kunze, S. Kajari-Schröder, X. Breitenmoser, and B. Bjørneklett, “The risk of power loss in crystalline silicon based photovoltaic modules due to micro-cracks,” Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, vol. 95, no. 4, pp. 1131–1137, Apr. 2011.
I do disclose it, it’s how you know. Also, I wouldn’t benefit – I’m from Massachusetts.
“With this language we would see the current legal position of solar in Florida change, as currently anyone who sells electricity to anyone else within the state is to be regulated as a utility, with all of the responsibilities of a utility.”
Go back just 10 years and the utilities are laughing, these solar PV panels on residential homes, never catch on, to, expensive, ha, ha, ha……
Now it’s, wait what? 100,000 homes with solar PV on their roofs, we can’t regulate our grid. How are we going to fix the “duck curve”? Whaaaa, whaaaaaa, whaaaaaaaa, call a whambulence. Duke, FP&L the people realize that you used their rate monies to mount multi-million dollar campaigns against their will, to try and change the State Constitution to “protect your interests”.
What goes around, comes around. It’s your turn to cry, you didn’t man up, do the right thing without backing yourselves into a well deserved corner. Using people’s rate monies for political campaigns against the people you (serve) is low.
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