By Dave Reuter, Florida Power & Light Company
Lewis Jennings, no doubt writing at the behest of the private rooftop solar industry in his recent op-ed, grossly misleads readers on the subject of net metering.
Jennings’ piece claims, with no supporting evidence, that “low- and moderate-income communities have turned to rooftop solar power.” Given the average self-reported, rooftop solar installation cost in Florida far exceeds $30,000, it is hardly an affordable option for those trying to make ends meet each month.
Here’s the injustice that Jennings doesn’t share: under the current net metering rules, those working families are the ones subsidizing the few who can afford to purchase private rooftop systems.
The estimate net metering subsidy paid for by all FPL customers is on track to reach approximately $30 million this year. By 2025, it’s projected to nearly triple to more than $80 million.
Claiming that private rooftop solar is a benefit to all customers is patently false. So, too, is the myth that private rooftop solar systems provide benefits only to the individuals who own them, as the expense of everyone else.
To be clear, FPL supports net metering and will always support customers who choose to purchase private solar systems, but they should pay the full cost of their system without relying on inflated bill credits paid for by all customers. This is why we fully support proposed legislation that addresses this unfair subsidy.
Whether they rent their home or business, live in a condo, simply can’t afford or don’t want to pay the costs associated with private solar, not everyone is able or chooses to install their own system.
We believe that Florida and our customers benefit the most when the largest amount of solar is installed for the lowest cost. This is indisputably achieved through large-scale, ground-mounted solar – like the 42 solar power plants FPL has today – which is more than three times more cost-effective than rooftop solar.
It is time to update an outdated state mandate that’s created a subsidy received by 0.5% of our customers and paid for by the other 99.5%. While anyone should be able to put solar on their roof, we don’t think it’s right for everyone else to be forced to help pay for it.
Dave Reuter is the chief communications officer for Florida Power & Light Company
“The Invading Sea” is the opinion arm of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaborative of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by the warming climate.
FPL is whining about “fair play?” Seriously? They don’t just use 70% dirty energy, they are dirty. They made $1.6 billion in profit last year, are raising rates 20% over the next 4 years, and donated $100k to the North Florida Senator, Jennifer Bradley, who is sponsoring the bill that will kill solar ownership. They spend millions on lobbyist. Years ago, FPL assured that rooftop solar can’t be affordable to middle income families by making it illegal to lease your rooftop to solar installers. FPL is getting free energy from these net metered homes! It’s FPL’s fault that they haven’t figured out how to innovate the grid. And let’s be clear, banning net metering isn’t about these .5% of home owners. The real threat to FPL are the multiple commitments to by tax payer funded schools, counties, and cities to transition to clean energy. FPL wants to assure that these institutions can’t afford to use their own spacious rooftops with daytime energy needs to install solar. There is nothing fair about how FPL manipulates energy policy in this state.
Shame on you! This is a very misleading opinion piece! Only 1% of Floridians have residential solar, so their contribution to energy simply adds to the grid which lowers costs for all. FPL loves their monopoly and would like all energy reimbursement to go them. The dynamics would change if a high percent of customers had their own solar, but we are decades away from that in the “Sunshine State.”
Currently, it takes about 10 years to break even on residential solar – even with net metering. I can think of LOTS better investments. But even fewer people will want to participate if they know they will NEVER get back their investment!
The cost of roof top solar is not relevant and has no impact on FPL’s claim.
Translation: FPL doesn’t like competition and is looking to keep there monopoly intact. For example; Florida electricity rates are among the highest in the nation and this impacts all customers of all economic levels. If FPL simple had low rates home solar wouldn’t be less appealing and would discourage home solar. Do you see FPL taking about lower power rates?
This is just a money grab, tell FPL to put a sock in it.