TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As the United States spent part of 2021 focused on building more renewable energy options to combat climate change and high utility costs, Florida’s Public Service Commission reported a 44% increase in the number of customer-owned power generators in the state.

In 2020, there were 90,552 systems, called Renewable Generation Interconnections, in the state. In 2021, that number grew to 130,947.

Most of the RGIs are solar panel systems. Florida reported there were a total of 90,518 solar RGIs in 2020. The next year, there were 130,913. It was a 44% growth in the number of solar power systems, matching the overall growth of state RGIs.

Along with the increased number of rooftop panels, capacity for power generation also grew.

Power capacity is rated as Gross Power Rating by the Florida Public Service Commission. In 2020, the solar GPR was 828.168 megawatts. A year later, FPSC reported the state solar GPR had grown to about 1.17 gigawatts. The state GPR grew 41%.

For Florida’s power consumers, the residents with renewable power systems, that meant more people saved on their power bills in 2021, thanks to current statutes related to net metering.

The net metering process is how customers with solar power and other renewable energy get credit back on their bills when they produce more than they use. While the savings are helpful to residents, they were nearly on their way out the door as a result of legislation passed by state lawmakers in the 2022 legislative session.

House Bill 741, had it not been vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, would have taken away protections for credits to residents over five years, reducing the savings on bills each year until they were no longer in effect.

DeSantis, when vetoing the bill, said that while the prices for gasoline and groceries were rising along with other bills, Florida would not “contribute to the financial crunch” state residents were seeing, and refused to sign off on the legislation.

Advocates for residential solar power had pushed back on the legislation as well, calling it a “gun to the solar rooftop industry’s head.”