LAKELAND — When it comes to solar, some residents say Lakeland Electric’s policy puts them at a disadvantage compared to other electricity users throughout Polk County.
Rick Garrity, a leading member of the Polk County Rooftop Solar Cooperative, said policies with Tampa Electric or Duke Energy are more friendly to those with solar panels than Lakeland Electric’s. Garrity said that even compared to other municipal power entities like Orlando Utilities Commission, Lakeland Electric lags behind.
“We’re being treated differently than any other utility in the county,” said Garrity, a Lakeland resident of more than four decades. “We want them to be more consistent with other municipal utilities. Even Orlando has a more friendly policy.”
Garrity said most utilities, including Lakeland Electric, honor what is called net-metering. Garrity explained that net-metering is putting excess solar power generated back into the system to be used later.
Lakeland Electric, Garrity said, does that, too, but with a fixed demand charge based on usage during peak hours. In Orlando, Garrity said, excess solar energy is placed back into the municipal grid and customers receive a credit. According to an email sent by Garrity to commissioners and city officials, two installers declined to put solar panels on Garrity’s roof because of the detrimental nature of the utility’s policy. [click for full article]