Florida town decides to gut net metering

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In a fairly unprecedented move, Green Cove Springs, a town in Florida has passed an ordinance to halve the net metering rate that solar customers receive.

In the vast majority of net metering cases, any changes to compensation are made at the state level, with cities, especially cities with a population under 10,000 like Green Cove Springs, seldom taking the responsibility into their own hands.

As it stands, the ordinance lowers customers’ net metering export credit from the current rate of eight cents per kWh to four cents per kWh. Local solar advocates have denounced the ordinance, saying that lowering the credit will throw current customer payback calculations into disarray and will dissuade others from investing in solar down the line.

According to local press, the city of Green Cove Springs’ representative to Florida Municipal Power Agency’s (FMPA) Board of Directors and Executive Committee addressed these arguments by sharing the opinion that solar incentives, at the local, state, and national level, should be removed altogether.

The representative, who is not affiliated with FMPA backed this claim by citing the amount of land required for projects, waste and emissions related to mining, and concerns over decommissioning procedure as aspects of solar that citizens have to “turn a blind eye to,” despite the first and third points not applying to rooftop solar.

In response, FMPA has shared with pv magazine that city representative’s opinions regarding renewable energy are not reflective of the views and opinions of FMPA, adding that the agency strongly supports renewables and is looking to bring more on-line.

As it stands now, the ordinance only applies to Green Cove Springs, though there are concerns among local renewable energy advocates that the decision could create a domino effect where other neighboring towns follow suit by stripping away their incentives.

EDIT 6/3/21: This article has been amended to clarify the relationship between the city of Green Cove Springs’ representative to FMPA’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee and FMPA, as the original article referred to the representative as an employee of FMPA. We apologize for the error.

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