As summer approaches and Florida weather gets even steamier, air conditioners work harder, and power bills get higher.
The sun hits harder here in the Sun Belt than in other regions. So, naturally, Florida has grown into one of the largest consumers of solar power in the US while also employing thousands of workers statewide who install and maintain solar panels.
The state has been situated for some time to surpass North Carolina as the state with the most solar power by 2024.
Then came Florida State Bill HB-741.
What was Florida State Bill HB-741?
The bill’s advocates argued that solar energy subsidies would be unfairly passed onto fossil fuel energy customers. However, clean energy advocates argued that the current solar power subsidies serve as a boon to the Florida economy and that the bill would gut the growth of clean energy in Florida.
The Florida House of Representatives approved the bill, then the Florida Senate followed suit. Governor Ron DeSantis was expected to sign it into law. Hundreds of protesters gathered at the state capitol calling for an end to the bill. After the public outcry — to the surprise and relief of many — DeSantis vetoed the bill.
Why was this net metering bill important and how would it have affected you?
Let’s take a look.
Solar panels, especially in sunny states like Florida, frequently generate more electricity than an individual customer needs. Net metering is the practice of selling that excess solar energy back to the electric company.
Florida utility companies have credited solar customers more than $4.6 million due to net metering since 2016, according to the Florida Public Service Commission.
How would the bill affect solar power consumers?
For the most part, existing customers would remain largely unaffected for the next two decades. However, the bill would have gradually decreased benefits for customers who sell their excess energy back to their local power companies.
Power companies would pay these customers “the full avoided cost” or the minimum amount they could legally pay. The current rate is higher than the retail rate. For many customers, net metering is a crucial return on their initial investment in solar panels.
Utility companies were also expected to charge some customers additional fees and fixed charges. The bill would have not only made solar power more expensive but saved customers who invested in solar power less money for their efforts.
Who qualifies for net metering?
With the bill vetoed, existing solar panel customers and new customers can still take advantage of net metering. In order to qualify, a customer must have a solar panel system connected to the local power grid.
Any excess power generated by the solar panel that the customer does not use will be sent back to the local power company. Then, the power company will pay the solar panel owner for that energy, giving the customer a larger return on their investment in solar.
How else can solar power benefit you?
Solar panel customers are protected from power grid failures since they receive power from their panels instead of a power company. Customers who use critical medical devices or who live on the outskirts of the power grid can benefit greatly from this.
Using solar energy will also allow you to save money on power bills. You will no longer rely on power companies for energy. Current power utility customers continue seeing higher bills.
If you apply for financing, you will probably pay smaller monthly bills than you currently pay. This is especially true for customers who use a lot of energy in their homes or businesses. Check out Compass Solar financing options to see if you might qualify.
Net metering = less pollution
Selling energy back to the power company enables all customers to use less energy from fossil fuels. That means less pollution from coal and gas power plants and less waste from nuclear power.
In other words, solar power customers get some extra money in their pockets while helping to save the environment.
Additionally, solar panel advocates argue, net metering empowers customers to help create a more stable power grid for everyone.
What about tax credits?
Federal and state governments provide tax credits to customers installing new solar panels.
Customers will need to file in order to receive their tax credits.
If you file for the 2022 residential investment tax credit (ITC), you will be credited 26% of the cost of your solar system on your income taxes. The 2023 ITC will credit you 22% of the cost of your system.
In order to qualify, you would need to have placed your solar system into service before December 31, 2021 for the 2022 tax credit or before December 31, 2022 for the 2023 tax credit.
Please note: The ITC is currently set to end after 2023 so act soon.
Florida’s state government also offers some financial incentives for solar power.
Your power company may even offer additional rebates for using solar power.
Note: Some incentives may affect your federal tax credit.
Solar panels can increase your property value
As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, solar panels can increase your property value.
Because of the growing popularity of solar panels and the rising costs of fossil fuel energy, buyers will pay more for properties with solar panel installations.
This means you can sell your property at a much higher rate. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, your home’s value increases by $20 for every $1 saved in energy bills from your panels.
Several factors may affect how much value solar panels add to your home:
- Where your home is located and the demand for solar energy
- The number of solar panels you have installed
- The size of your home
- The quality of the solar panels
Compass Solar will install your own cost-saving solar panel system
With the continuing rise of inflation, rate increases, and rising fuel prices, now is the perfect time to take advantage of Florida’s current solar power laws. If you need help getting started with your own system, you can contact Compass Solar today to find out more. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.
Also, consider getting engaged in local politics to ensure no new legislation like the recent defeated net metering bill pops up – as the saying goes, be the change you wish to see in the world!