(Image courtesy of The Orlando Weekly) Florida is third in the nation for the potential for rooftop solar but 13th


(Image courtesy of The Orlando Weekly)

Florida is third in the nation for the potential for rooftop solar but 13th in installed capacity. Power purchase agreements are currently illegal in Florida because only electric utilities are allowed to sell power in the state. However, they are legal in other parts of the country which gives homeowners a way to install solar-power generation systems without paying their full cost up front.

Florida’s electric utility companies will soon learn whether the battle to make the state friendlier to solar developers is over or just beginning. The Florida Supreme Court will rule on if a proposed constitutional amendment can appear on the state’s November 2016 election ballot. The amendment is meant to allow building owners to allow developers to build solar-generation systems on their roofs, own the systems and sell the power from those systems to them.

Florida’s utilities are combatting this initiative by supporting a different nonprofit, Consumers for Smart Solar. Consumers for Smart Solar calls the Floridians for Solar Choice’s proposal a scam being promoted by big, out-of-state solar-power developers that want to enter Florida without being regulated by state and local officials.

The utility company’s stance is that the “Solar Choice” amendment will prohibit state and local governments to regulate the solar companies, which could pave the way to overcharging, poor reliability and possibly even fraud.

Utilities claim this amendment would limit or prevent the utilities from charging rates, tariffs, or impose terms and conditions of service on their customers consuming local solar electricity placing the burden on their other customers who do not consume solar electricity.

On the other hand, Consumers for Smart Solar’s amendment would allow electric utilities to pass charges related to grid maintenance on to customers with rooftop solar units. Utilities say that’s necessary because they get the money they need to maintain their grids from their customers’ bills. Customers with rooftop solar systems who don’t buy much power from the utility are, in effect, paying less toward maintaining their grids than customers without rooftop solar systems, even though all customers benefit equally from being connected to the grid.


That reasoning however, is beginning to be challenged. The California Public Utilities Commission released a report on the impact of net-energy metering, which allows customers to sell power to the grid as well as buy power from it, on all electric ratepayers.

The report concluded that, with renewable distributed generation, residential customers with net energy metering paid 81 percent of their full cost of service, down from 154 percent before renewable distributed generation. The study also found that non-residential customers with net energy metering were paying 112 percent of their total cost of service. The report concluded, that net energy metered accounts appear to be paying a little bit more than the full cost of service.

If Floridians for Solar Choice gets its proposed amendment on the ballot, it needs 60 percent voter approval, rather than just a simple majority, to become law. If Consumers for Smart Solar also gets its proposed amendment on the ballot, Floridians for Solar Choice’s task would be even tougher. Sixty-six percent of the registered voters it surveyed said they’d vote for that amendment, while 22 percent said they’d vote against it and 12 percent said they were undecided.


Matt Helland
Senior Vice President – North American Energy Advisory





Choose Your Energy Supplier

Energy Professionals is committed to finding its customers the best possible rates on electricity and natural gas. Tell us your location and service type and our energy manager will connect you to the most competitive offers.

Switching to an alternate supplier is easy. There is no chance of service disruption, and you'll continue with your current utility for energy delivery and emergency service. Take a few minutes to discover your best offers, and enjoy the benefits of retail energy in your home or business.

1. Energy Type

2. Service Type

3. Zip Code