| Damaging Rooftop Solar Bill Still Moving Forward, But With Helpful Amendment|
|HB 741 by Rep. McClure (R-Dover) passed after debate during a very contentious Tourism and Infrastructure Committee meeting on Thursday. The bill would reduce the price utilities pay rooftop solar owners for excess energy they sell back to the grid, reducing the economic viability of rooftop solar drastically. Rooftop energy generation is less than 1% of Florida's current energy mix and Florida’s existing net metering structure was established to reduce barriers to private investment in the adoption of rooftop solar; making these changes to an industry still in its infancy is premature. Audubon feels strongly that the transparent and accountable Public Service Commission process that started in 2021 to evaluate rates and net metering should be allowed to run its course. Rather than this bill’s regressive mandate, the PSC review could result in rate improvements that address utility concerns, protect consumers, and still provide financial incentives to drive the adoption of solar, battery, and efficiency tech. Taking a step in a positive direction and recognizing the investment made by rooftop solar customers, an amendment was added to the House bill this week that extends the period of time existing rooftop solar owners can depend upon the current net metering rates from 10 to 20 years. This is a good first step to protect existing rooftop solar owners, but the bill would still have devastating effect on Florida’s solar adoption rates.|
Thank you to all of our Audubon advocates who emailed the committee members ahead of this hearing! In addition, more than 66 members of the public signed up to testify in person but were unable to do so because of insufficient time. The Senate companion, SB 1024 by Sen. Bradley (R-Orange Park), is on the agenda for Community Affairs (Chair Sen. Bradley, R-Orange Park). Solar—both utility scale and rooftop—are essential to helping Florida meet the challenge of climate change.