The Florida Senate has introduced its version of Florida’s Energy Policy in the Senate Proposed Committee Bill 7082. The mere construction of this bill begins on page 5 by deceptively defining the word “Provider” as used 37 times throughout the bill to mean “Utility”. ┬áIn addition to having to algebraically decipher the bill throughout the bill also strips the consumer of the ability to install solar panels on their home or buildings unless those systems are owned and operated by the Utility. Here is how it happens. #1 Renewable Energy Credits: The mechanism in which other states have been able to create market based systems to allow the utilities to purchase renewable energy from customer owned or 3rd party owned systems has been deleted, deleted completely. That’s right, the reason why New Jersey is the nations 2nd largest solar market has no business here in Florida. This also means that if you planned on putting solar on your home or business under the premise of receiving a cash incentive from the Utility, excuse me Provider, think again. Not in the sunshine state. #2 Renewable Portfolio Standard: A statewide guideline that places a mandate on how much renewable energy a public and municipal utility must own, operate or be purchasing energy from on it’s utility grid. This is typically a percentage of total generation. Over 30 states in the Nation have an RPS, Florida, is not one of them. Deleted. While in the bill the Legislators agree that renewable energy is good, clean and creates jobs it would be inappropriate to mandate it’s use by municipal and public Utilities but however wants to develop a 10-20 year plan with the help of the Public Service Commission. #3 Cost Recovery: On page 16 the amount of money that the rate payer is expected to pay for the Utility to develop and sell you renewable energy. That rate is 100% of all reasonable and prudently incurred costs. According to the Sun Sentinel this could be as much as $390 Million per year or around $3-4 per month per rate payer. How these three points converge on the ratepayer. This bill gives full control over the Utility to lease roof space, land and government owned building space for the purpose of building and developing renewable energy to sell to the ratepayer, just like building a coal or natural gas fired power plant. This bill removes the opportunity for growth of the small customer owned solar systems, commercially owned solar systems and third party leasing of renewable energy systems unless offered by control of the Utility. It does so by removing the guidelines for how much renewable energy is managed on the grid and by when in time (RPS) as well as the mechanism by which Utilities are typically forced to incentivize the development in the private sector (REC). In doing so it provides a not previously seen monopolistic power, with the ability to control and manipulate a growing business sector in which once passed only Florida Utilities are able to develop renewable energy projects, commission developers to build projects which they will buy power from as an option and do so in a way that they recover their full costs from the rate payer. In other states and countries (which do not receive as much sunshine as Florida) recovery costs of approximately $.80 – 1.50 have been able to develop tens of thousands of renewable energy systems that are privately owned by customers, not Utilities. This also means that the on going maintenance costs are not the responsibility of the Utility. Other interesting verbiage to alienate ratepayer benefit In addition to singling out the Utilities as the Providers of renewable energy the bill also candidly mentions that though Renewable Energy Credits and Carbon Credits may offer a monetary, economic value to the individual who own the renewable energy system they are to be surrendered to the Utility if that Utility is purchasing the power generated by the system. On page 8 of 23 (F &G) the bill notes that if a Utility is purchasing renewable energy the seller must surrender all “renewable attributes”, in addition to renewable energy credits, carbon credits or other mechanisms that by ruling of this bill don’t exist in Florida but may have economic value to the seller in other states if a Federal standard is mandated that the local Utility would like to basically confiscate for their use. That’s right, Renewable Energy Credits are no good in Florida, but they do exist and the Utility wants them and wants a law to take make you “surrender” them. Additionally, On Page 16 paragraph C the legislature does give the ratepayer the benefit of sharing in 90% of the revenues generated by renewable energy credits and carbon credits, that’s right the RECS that will never exist in Florida but the Utility can sell in say… New Jersey. What can you do? Get on the Horn. Email this to as many people as you have email addresses for who don’t want their Utility bills to go up. Call your Senate Energy Committee member and let them know that YOU want rights to be able to produce solar energy on your home or business without buying it from your Utility. Link to the Bill

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6 Responses to “Utility take over of solar industry to cost ratepayers dearly”

  1. James Lepper

    The Florida Senate on Bill 7082 just show who intrest they are looking out for (Utility) and not the People who voted for them. The ratepayer are the ones who will be paying higher rates.

  2. wilma day

    I put solar on my home in order to produce some of the electricity that I use so as not to further contribute to global warming from fossil fuels. The utility company buys it at a very low rate and it costs them nothing in maintain the system. For years they were not interested in producing electricity from the sun. They should continue to give rebates and encourage customers to put solar panels on their homes and purchase their electricity at a better rate. We need to seek alternative sources for power since fossil fuels are limited and nuclear power has a lot of issues as we have seen being played out in Japan.

  3. JW Jones

    This bill does nothing to spur private investment in renewable energy. By opening the market to smaller non-utility producers, competition increases and puts downward pressure on both installation costs and electric rates. The utilities don’t want competition, so this bill is their answer to a free renewable energy market in Florida. It shouldn’t surprise anyone — the utilities have long been lining the pockets of Tallahassee politicians — but it is a bold move from a legislature that clamors for free markets except when their ‘buddies’ want otherwise.
    We need to get Tallahassee and the utilities out of the way to allow Floridians to pursue meaningful energy independence.
    JW Jones
    Disclosure: I am a solar contractor working in the Florida solar industry.

  4. Jeffrey Manz - The Computer Guy Extraordinaire 954-234-7397

    This affects EVERYONE OF US so take a few minutes and email the FL Senate Energy Committee to read this article (include a link to this article) and tell them that you oppose this bill as written as it will take away your RIGHT to create your own energy and get paid for the surplus energy you might create. FP&L is already a monopoly; don’t let them control more of your life!! This may not be important to you right now but down the road when your electric bill doubles (and it will), you will want this option to remain open to you as a home/business owner.

    Here’s all the email addresses to all the FL Senate Energy Committee members. Just copy and paste them into the address box of your email. Senate Energy Committee members:;;;;;;;; ;;;;;

    Here’s the web site for the FL Senate Energy Committee: Just click on the Members tab to see the list.

    Take 5 mintues and stop our elected officials/politicians from giving away our rights to a profit seeking monopoly like FP&L. We can’t let this happen. Email them today!

  5. Justin

    Thanks for your comments! Wilma that you for continuing to support our effort, we are glad to have you as a customer! JW, Jeff & James Thanks for your comments. It is unfortunate that the majority of the legislature is unwilling to spur growth in the small private companies. This bill also squelches any investment from any large national solar contractors that would want to open offices and create jobs here in Florida. Basically cutting off our nose to spite our face.

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