Florida solar industry descends on the state capital to protest anti-net-metering bills

Bob O’Lary Photography

Hundreds of solar advocates, businesses owners, homeowners and industry representatives traveled to Florida’s Capitol from across the state Tuesday to hold a rally against legislation threatening the solar industry.

SB 1024/HB 741 would decimate the growing rooftop solar industry, which supports more than 40,000 local jobs and contributes over $18.3 billion in economic value, by upending a policy called net metering. Net metering allows rooftop solar panel owners to exchange the excess power they generate for a one-to-one credit on their own bills.

“Net metering is at the heart of rooftop solar, and, without it, the industry will undoubtedly suffer great harm,” said Ben Millar, CEO of Sun Harvest Energy. “This legislation severely undercuts the value of the energy homeowners send to the grid. Unfortunately, this will decimate solar’s economic viability, leading to significant job loss and hardship for hundreds of companies.”

Bob O’Lary Photography

In addition to the planned speakers for the event, ranging from solar company owners to faith leaders, the rally featured a special appearance and speech by Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando). Rep. Eskamani stood with rally attendees gathered on the steps of Florida’s Historic Capitol, voicing support for solar energy in Florida and opposition to the impediments presented by the legislation.

Rallygoers led a walking conversation outside of the Capitol as the Senate Committee on Community Affairs heard the legislation. Despite numerous industry leaders and advocates testing against the Senate version of the legislation, the committee voted to move the bill ahead.

“More and more people can afford to go solar thanks to net metering, which helps them control soaring electric bills and get a fair credit for locally produced clean energy, shared directly with neighbors,” said Heaven Campbell, Florida program director of Solar United Neighbors . “This bill is punitive, slams the door on innovation, and mocks families’ financial planning.”

News item from Solar United Neighbors

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