TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Lawmakers are considering new compromises on a bill that could allow utility companies to raise rates on solar customers.

Florida’s Public Service Commission estimates nearly 90,000 home and/or business owners have rooftop solar systems installed.

As part of "net metering," those solar users are paid full retail rate (by utility companies) for any excess energy they produce and send to the grid.

House Bill 741 and Senate Bill 1024 would grant the Public Service Commission the authority to change the rate/credit system to allow utilities to pay solar users less for that excess energy.

Florida Power and Light is the largest proponent of the legislation. FPL, which operates 50 solar centers across the state, argues solar users are unfairly receiving subsidized services paid for by non-solar users.

Critics argue changing the rates received is just an attempt by public utility companies to make more money, and goes against the promises made when they invested in solar.

The compromise under consideration

Heading for a final state Senate committee, the bills now have an added amendment.

The compromise would keep retail credits in place for existing solar customers for 20 years, while others would see payback rates drop over time.

“Any public utility customer who owns or leases renewable generation that is in service before January 1, 2023, pursuant to a standard interconnection agreement offered by a public utility shall be granted 20 years to continue to use the net metering rate design and rates that applied before the revised net metering rule was adopted …” the amendment reads.

For those who do not have functioning solar service by Jan. 1, 2023, would see reduce payback rates.

Per the amendment:

  • During calendar years 2024 and 2025; credit is 75% of public utility’s retail rate.
  • During calendar years 2026 and 2027; credit is 50% of public utility’s retail rate.
  • During calendar year 2028; the credit is the public utility’s full avoided costs.

The amendment also allows a public utility to assess various fees on solar users.

“The net metering may include fixed charges, including base facilities charges, electric grid access fees, or monthly minimum bills, to help ensure that the public utility recovers the fixed costs of serving customers who engage in net metering and that the general body of public utility ratepayers does not subsidize customer-owned or leased renewable generation,” the amendment reads.