Florida Senator Jennifer Bradley filed a bill with the state legislature which aims to alter the state’s existing net metering program.
Florida’s net metering program was established in 2008 under Florida Administrative Code Rule 25-6.065. Within that rule, residential and commercial customers with systems less than 2 MW in capacity are eligible to sell their excess generation back to the utility at the full retail electrical rate on their monthly bill. To calculate a customer’s annual excess generation credit, compensation is based on the avoided cost to the utility for the power it would otherwise have had to generate. This calculation can vary from utility to utility, depending on their methodology.
The guidelines apply to customers of investor-owned utilities, like Florida Power and Light (FPL). Municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are able to set their own credit rates for net metering.
Bradley’s bill would change the existing net metering structure from one that promotes the development of renewable energy resources in this state, to one that purports to “continue” development “in a manner that is fair and equitable to all public utility customers.”
The basis for the change to the code relies on the cost-shift argument. As Andrew Sendy, CEO of SolarReviews.com explained in an op-ed for pv magazine USA, “Solar consumers produce their own solar power on-site, meaning that they are not using their distribution and transmission systems (aka “the grid”). Therefore, the argument goes, they [net metering customers] are not paying their fair share of upkeep of the grid. And since they aren’t paying for it, someone else obviously has to—and so they claim those costs shift to non-solar customers.”
The language of SB 1024 echoes that rhetoric, claiming that, “The substantial growth of customer-owned and -leased renewable generation has resulted in increased cross-subsidization of the full cost of electric service onto the public utility’s general body of ratepayers.”
Sixteen state-level studies, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, have disproven the cost-shift argument, as has a national study, completed by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
Berkeley found that 40 of the 43 states and Washington D.C. with net metering programs have a negligible cost increase attributed to solar, and that the cost picture remains this way until solar penetration meets 10% of a state’s generation portfolio.
SB 1024 calls on the Florida Public Service Commission to set up a successor net metering program by January 1, 2023. The new program is required to:
- Ensure that public utility customers owning or leasing renewable generation pay the full cost of electric service and are not subsidized by the public utility’s general body of ratepayers
- Ensure that all energy delivered by the public utility is purchased at the public utility’s applicable retail rate and that all energy delivered by customer-owned or -leased renewable generation to the public utility is credited to the customer at the public utility’s full avoided costs.
The bill would also allow utilities to add in base facilities charges, electric grid access fees, monthly minimum bills, or other fixed charges to customers’ bills in order to ensure the utility recovers their cost of serving net metering customers.
Additionally, if the bill were to pass, existing net metering customers who had their system operational before Jan. 1, 2023 would be grandfathered in to their previous compensation rate for 10 more years.
In response to the bill’s introduction, Justin Vandenbroeck, president of the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association that, while the organization is still analyzing the full impact of the legislation, “Initial modeling suggests this legislation has the potential to set the rooftop solar industry back nearly a decade. Erasing the thousands of jobs, consumer choice and savings, along with the resiliency benefits that rooftop solar offers to Floridians.”
Over the summer, Green Cove Springs, Florida, passed an ordinance to halve the net metering rate. The city buys its power from a municipal power agency, rather than an investor-owned utility, so the town board was able to pass the ordinance.
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I thought that the “sun shine state” would embrace solar power but again, I was wrong…..
ONLY if you buy it from Florida Light and Power’s solar farm, not your own.
All this sounds like what most other utilities are doing. The annual “true-up payments” to solar generating customers are at the generation cost rates but they need to consider that the utility meters on the neighborhood are paying for that generated power without the cost of long-distance transmission and without the line losses usually associated with their normal distribution. The solar generating home owner should also consider what a battery-based, off-grid system would cost them for batteries and replacing those batteries periodically. My 8000 watt off grid system with 8000 amp hours of lead acid batteries costs $6,500 every 6 years to replace or about $1,100.00 per year. Lithium batteries would cost even more every 10 years at $14,000.00 or $1,400.00 per year pro rated. If the utility allows you to have solar, use their grid without limits and install as much solar as you want or need, then a “Meter Fee” or annual fee of under $300.00 a year would be reasonable or about $25.00 per month as long as every body connected to the grid, solar and non-solar paid the same connection fee continuing the incentive to go solar.
You are right. Let’s charge someone to use their own solar produced energy. Meanwhile FPL is using the excess energy that they did not produce, but got from the customer, and charging other customers for energy they did not produce themselves while not compensating the actual producer of that energy.
This is called double dipping. Charging someone to use their own power and then taking the power they produce and give to someone else while they make money on it.
Here is another example that they rolled out of double dipping. They got this solar farm that they are building where they get the gullible customer to subsidize it with no benefits. It works like this:
For a fee, the customer can claim a certain amount of energy from FPL’s solar farm. The idea is that the energy produced would be used to offset the customer’s electric bill. The actual amount of credits, or savings, that the customer can (keyword) potentially earn is offset by the fee. So now the customer is still paying their full electric bill plus a fee for the solar panels that do not produce their full potential al the time (there are a loud of clouds and rain in the summer). So FPL still gets to charge for the customers energy usage while receiving money to build these solar panels on the customer’s dime.
Yeah, let’s go ahead and pass this bill so that FPL could continue to make even more money.
Bah! Humbug! “If the utility allows you to have solar”!? Who are they to allow or deny me anything behind the meter? My house, my rules.
The utilities lawyers and lobbyists tell the politicians what to do. And the politicians obey.
Every commodity has an infrastructure cost included in the unit price, whether it is a gallon of gas, a head of lettuce or a kWh of electricity. Nowhere else do we attempt to parse out this cost and charge separately.
Exactly. Call it double-dipping, double taxation, whatever; it’s just wrong. Never mind the environment, reduced stress on the grid, etc.
The costs mention every solar producing customer already pays for with the monthly fee like everyone else.
Just they don’t need as much and keeps from the utility having to increase generation which uses the most expensive fuels is
saving that cost .
We just get avoided costs now for avoided fuel, generation costs is about $.09/kwh though going up fast with higher NG, coal prices.
Interestingly because TECO put in enough solar finally they had to cut the kwh rate and now because of higher FF costs, it has to rise 20%.
The need for more solar, CHP, CSP, biomass, waste, synfuels is clear here to lower costs and keep them from spiking.
Utilities that don’t fairly accommodate homeowners might soon be in for a rough ride.
By all indications, future prices for home batteries+solar will only get cheaper…especially if a 2nd (used) EV acts as the ‘battery’ (V2G or V2H). Homeowners with ample sunshine might thus decide to cut-the-cord (grid)…and still have almost free “fuel” for their cars+batteries.
And when they want to use our batteries for peak demand balancing, will we be able to impose whatever “battery access fee” we feel necessary, since they need to pay their fair share of battery maintenance?
If a City or County requires all homes be hooked up to the utility and pay the minimum service fees then all you can do is use the utility on rainy days and your off-grid system on sunny days. I built my 8,000 watt off-grid system with batteries in my back yard first then had a 7,800 watt Tesla Solar Glass roof without batteries installed and connected to the utility. The credit built up by my Tesla Solar System, over the summer was 4200 kilo watt hours and along with my off-grid system, I am replacing the Natural Gas furnace heating with Electrical heating and that savings more than makes up for the 3 cents per kilo watt hour they would pay at true up. California is banning Natural Gas heating and solar panels in all new homes plus hot water heating using compressor-based heat exchangers. This could work in the south west and deep south but northern states and Canada would need additional fuels for heating.
Let us go off grid, that will solve their problem.
I went OFF-Grid with my system because the utility wanted a minimum size system, that at first, I could not make. I then realized that the cost of the batteries, in that system, would be substantial and when pro-rated over their life and the life of the solar panels, it worked out to 16 cents per kilo watt hour for every kilo watt our I generated and used. My average cost of power with pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in California is 26 Cents per kilo watt hour so I saved 10 cents per kilo watt hour with my off-grid system. However, in New Mexico or Nevada, where electricity is under 12 cents per Kilo Watt Hour, Off grid is more costly if you live within the service area of your utility. Once we are able to get long lasting batteries, that cost less when pro-rated, then off grid could be the ultimate answer.
I have ground source heat pump system for heating and cooling for the past 16 years with no back up and I live in Northern Colorado. We have experienced below zero many time during a year.
If I am reading this right, the rates are not unfair. If you want to see unfair, take a look at what the co-ops are doing. I used $6 from the grid last month and my bill was $48, because of “other” fees. If I were on FPL the bill would have been around $25 If I were set up for grid tie, there would be more fees. Zero Export Grid Tie is popular in Australia and needs to be adopted here in the USA. Scheduling your usage for daylight hours can make a huge difference if you get paid 3 cents for the power you make and then pay 12 cents when you need to use it at night. Don’t let “them” cycle your home or car batteries for their use unless you get paid a premium.
I notice that the utilities like to make energy with their solar farms, but they squawk when the homeowner does it.
Amen to that.
Net metering never was a huge bargain. Your biggest saving come from going solar in the first place. With net metering, you are paid only the kwh cost minus the cost of fuel.You still have a customer svc chg. What you sent back to the grid I credited to your monthly bill and the end of the year true up is miniscule.
Net metering only replaces the batteries an off-grid system would need. You produce during the day and buy back at night in a 1:1 ratio. Some utilities now consider night time as “PEAK TIME” when the working families get home after 4 PM daily and charge back more than what they get it from homeowners for during the real “PEAK SOLAR TIME” PG&E is charging 41 cents per kilo Watt hour for the 4-9 PM times but pay for solar energy at 26 cents per kilo watt hour and this is still called “NET METERING” under California Law. Using what you produce is still net zero as long as it is used while it is being produced.
I live in Florida and have both Solar PV and a whole house battery for the frequent outages (40 in the past 18 months). Net metering is good for both me and the utility. The utility benefits because my exported power reduces their need to run peaking generators and I shift my consumption to night. Chopping the peak and filling the valley benefits both of us.
If the utility stops giving me full credit for the exported power, I will keep all my power on-site, storing the excess in my battery and using it at night. The utility then needs to run those expensive peaking generators to replace the power I’m not giving them any more. Raising the peak and chopping the valley doesn’t seem like a winning proposition for them, does it?
Thank you Brad. I completely agree with you. FPL wants all solar benefits for themselves and none for everyone else in their “territory”. I wonder why we don’t have “Texaco territory” or “Exxon territory” for the fossil fuel market.
I have 13k of solar on my house. On a hot sunny day I am pumping 10k out onto the grid which is powering a few home in my neighborhood. There are others with solar doing the same in my area. We are towards the end of the distribution circuit on single phase. House keep popping up around me and hooking up to the grid. There is more of a demand on the grid now. If you didn’t have all of us solar customers on this distribution circuit the utility would have to upgrade their line feeding us. The utility would have to increase the wire size and probably extended the 3 phase further. This would be a significant cost to the utility. Why is it, they look at solar customers as costing other rate payers money when in fact we are saving them money. My two cents. Thanks for reading.
You’re funny…and clearly have no idea how distribution works.
You are completely right! Utilities just don’t care about it. They only look for revenues and fill their executive’s pockets with big bonuses every year. we are just ants that always got smashed by the big guy’s shoes! And look: we think that is normal. It is what it is.
Country of Freedom? Are you still believe in this? Stop dreaming! We are slaveries of the system.. they just don’t tell you this.. . to keep you dreaming about the American Dream!
Once you connect to any utility, you OWE them and are totally dependent on them. Electricity, Natural Gas, Water, sewer and garbage collection are all bills along with the property taxes. They all gotcha’. Add a mortgage or line of credit, they gotcha even more. So how to you gain more freedom? Pay off those mortgages, install off grid electricity from wind or solar with batteries with a backup generator and dump the electric and Gas utilities. Keep the water, if you cannot dig your own well, and be sure to pay your taxes that may or may not include your sewer and garbage collection that also really pays for society’s needs. Ask yourself, If the utilities failed from a natural or man-made disaster, would you be able to be self-contained and survive for a year? Watch what happens in Ukraine and learn. An EMP (Nuclear explosion) or coronal mass ejection (solar flare) could take out all of your utilities for a year or more.
Dear Tim: We appreciate your attention to this crucial issue. The local press (Newspapers & TV) in the Sunshine State does not want to aggravate their principal advertiser, so they remain mostly quiet when it really counts. You speak up when it counts. You are simply the best. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Does anyone know when this bill would pass if it passes?
Sounds like going off-grid is the way to go here in FL. What a shame.
I differ with the contention that infrastructure cost is always buried.
In ideal economics all “overhead” costs must be included and ideally are parsed as best we can.
-Fuel (gasoline & diesel) taxes for the road infrastructure is a way of covering costs / mile / weight, but now with electric cars we are searching for a way to have them pay their road costs.
-With more expensive electric meters we can measure peak demand/load, and parse out the time of day use of energy. The capacity of the grid to distribute load must be sized for the peak, but my residential NE municipal electric utility actually avoided upgrading their distribution capacity for their highest peak loads by subsidizing roof top solar, because roof top solar is generated in a distributed fashion on the hottest summer days which are the utility’s peak load. They also avoided upgrading all the residential meters.
Peak demand and solar power production are synchronized in the Southern United States where the load caused by air conditioning in summer and during day time. In the Northeast, the situation is not as rosy, as heating in winter during cold temperatures is the dominant load.
the argument doesn’t take into account the benefits of having more solar on the grid brings, including peak-shaving (the easing of grid strain during periods of high electricity use), utilities’ avoided costs (the more solar on the grid, the fewer expensive traditional power plants they have to build) and, naturally, the environmental benefits.
One study in Maine, in fact, showed that solar consumers would actually save other ratepayers $750 million over 20 years.
Clearly, solar consumers aren’t a problem.
Duke electric in Tampa,Fl started charging a minimum $30.00 + tax = $35.71 bill in Jan.2022. My usual bill was $13.17 in months where I produced more kw’s than I used. That’s a 157% increase!
It is obvious that the utilities are going to do everything possible to maintain their monopoly on the production, transmission, distribution and storage of electricity. You get some home batteries? The utility will tack more “fees” on your bill. You decide to go off-grid entirely? Make no mistake, the utilities and their cronies in government will figure out how to punish you. Short of moving to an unclaimed desert island, you can’t avoid their grasp. But we can and should fight them!
I went off grid for 55% of my house and they just think I use less. I had to add new wiring to bring the power in and none of it could connect to the old wiring but that was easy since i used a 12 Volt DC battery system to do so. They make inverters from 50 watts all the way up to 10,000 watts from 12 volts DC to 120 Volts AC. Just design it, build it and run it, taking loads away from the houses 120-volt AC system to your new 12 Volt DC system as you go. Thye Same system is used for Recreational Vehicles that have both an AC 120-volt system and a 12-volt DC system. The other 45% that is left that is powered from the utility is for 240-volt alliances and hallway and bathroom lights that do not use table lamps, floor lamps or plug into 120-volt inverters. The system gives me emergency backup power and cut my bill by 70% since my utility has a tiered tariff system that charges more for higher usage customers.
How deep in the pockets of the electric companies she must be sitting…….hard to believe that anyone today, no matter what side of the aisle would consider penalizing the consumer with such BS legislation. Gas prices go up, and now they want my solar to cost more!
That’s why I’m going electric car asap. I won’t give energy for free to Duke Energy. I rather put a heater outside and through away all excess energy I overproduce instead to give it for free to this evil company called Duke Energy.
Of all the energy companies we have to choose from down here, Duke is the best one to partner with for solar energy. They are one of the few who do not skim off the top for energy you “give” to the grid when they credit you back. We have no complaints and are very happy with them but are worried that twits like this senator will pass legislation more of less requiring them to be less friendly of a partner.
If you have extra electricity to spend, please consider a heat pump hot water heater, and/or an induction stove, as well as an electric vehicle that can both get charged from your house and power your house’s electric panel.
Alex use your excess energy to power your electric water heater, your hot tub, your EV, your bat -signal searchlight that spells out “power to the people.”
Yes, i know turning my water heater and cook top to electric would make more use of the energy. But They are pretty new (the house is only 1 year old) and the gas is very cheap around here.
I drive a lot and with the gas prices as we have now, electric EV seems to be the more reasonable choice…. But them a problem… Who said you can find a electric car to buy nowadays?
Before you buy that Electric Car, think about how many miles you drive a year. If you are retired, like I am, I only drive 3,000 miles each year so I would be better off keeping my older ICE car but replacing my fossil fuel heating with the 3-cent true-up electricity. This last season (2021-2022 winter), I replaced $550.00 of natural gas (the amount I paid in 2020-2021 winter) with 2,200 Kilo Watt hours of banked electricity that the utilities say is only worth 3 cents. I gave up the $66.00 they would have given me but got them for $550.00 for the unused natural gas. I did have to buy the 4 electric heaters that cost $120.00 (30.00 each) at Home Depot but they will be good for a few more years. This is how you get more payback for your solar rather than spend another $50,000.00 on an EV.
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