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Florida clean energy advocates and solar panel companies were pleasantly surprised when Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a highly controversial bill that critics warned would “decimate Florida’s growing rooftop solar industry.”
Solar Tec Elec, a solar panel installation company in Florida, tweeted Thursday of Wednesday’s veto: “Excellent news for FL! WIN WIN WIN!”
“A huge victory that will help to grow and maintain our solar industry as we move forward in this new era of clean energy,” the tweet says.
The Conservative Energy Network released a written statement saying that the vetoed bill, HB 741, would have “gutted rooftop solar net metering and raised power bills for Florida families and businesses.”
“Net metering gives Floridians access to clean, affordable energy and provides an element of choice and competition in the energy market. The practice reduces strain on the grid and diversifies energy sources, benefiting all energy consumers, not only those with rooftop solar,” the network’s Tyler Duvelius said in a written statement.
Florida Solar Energy Industry Association (FlaSEIA), which opposed the bill, explains in an advocacy guide posted to their website that net metering “provides a credit for excess energy that is sent to the grid, which a solar customer can use to offset their usage later in the day, week, or month.”
Net metering essentially allows consumers to sell excess energy back to the utility company, a bill analysis says.
But the vetoed legislation would have reduced the value of the energy credits over several years, potentially making converting to solar energy less affordable.
FlaSEIA said that HB 741 “would decimate Florida’s growing rooftop solar industry and result in the loss of thousands of solar jobs.”
The bill drew clean energy advocates to the Capitol during the regular session to speak out against the measure.
In his Wednesday veto message, DeSantis cited inflation for his reasoning.
“Given that the United States is experiencing its worst inflation in 40 years and that consumers have seen steep increases in the price of gas and groceries, as well as escalating bills, the state of Florida should not contribute to the financial crunch that our citizens are experiencing,” he wrote in his veto letter.
A Mason-Dixon survey in February of 625 Florida voters found that 84 percent were in support of Florida’s existing net metering system.
During session, most Democrats and a couple Republican lawmakers voted against the legislation. A handful of Democrats voted in favor.
The Miami Herald reported in December that Florida Power & Light, Florida’s largest utility company, had a heavy hand in drafting the controversial legislation.
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