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It is time to update an outdated state mandate that’s created a subsidy received by 0.5% of our customers and paid for by the other 99.5%.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.