TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the state’s proposed Net Metering bill, which would have ended solar power benefits for residential consumers, on Wednesday.
The governor withheld his approval of the bill, House Bill 741, on the grounds that Florida’s consumers are already facing enough when it comes to price increases, putting his decision at the feet of the current levels of national inflation.
“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,” DeSantis wrote in his veto letter.
Had HB 741 passed, Florida’s consumers with residential solar power would have eventually lost all energy credits currently earned through programs in the state. By 2029, all credits that homeowners with rooftop solar and other forms of renewable energy generation would have earned from excess energy would have been reduced to nothing, and utility companies in Florida would be able to charge normal rates to all customers.
Currently, customers with renewable energy resources installed at their homes receive money back from their service providers due to excess generation.
The bill shot down by the governor was drafted in part by Florida Power & Light, as revealed by the reporting of the Miami-Herald and Floodlight. The reports showed that FPL had proposed and sponsored legislation to eliminate the financial benefits and incentives for homeowners to install solar power generators at their homes.
Business owners who work with solar in Tampa Bay were also critical of the proposed legislation. In March, one such business owner told Max Defender 8 Chief Meteorologist and Climate Specialist Jeff Berardelli that allowing the bill to pass would be a big blow to the solar industry in Florida and could impact a lot of local jobs.
“A signature will mean the end to solar as we know it here in Florida,” former Navy Seal Steve Rutherford, owner of Tampa Bay Solar, said. “Basically it is a gun to the solar rooftop industry’s head.”
State lawmakers and federal representatives from Florida, including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, criticized the way the legislation had been drafted and the impact it would have on Florida residents.
DeSantis has now scuttled those plans, protecting consumers’ ability to add solar power generation to their homes and potentially receive credits on their bills for the excess power they produce for the electric grid’s consumers.