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|We live to fight another day. On Thursday, September 17, the Florida Public Service Commission (FLPSC) held an informational workshop to open a dialogue on the topic of Customer Owned Generation. That was how it was described at the start of the workshop. The good news: The Commission does not appear to have the intention of weakening net-metering.|
| The Cliffs Notes; Over 16,400 individual emails to the commission Hundreds if not thousands of phone calls to the commission Friends and Neighbors of Commissioners expressed interest in not changing NEM Commissioners asked what utilities are doing to actually promote NEM Commissioners favor legacy clauses that protect existing and new customers ahead of a change Commissioners question whether insurance is really needed for Tier 2 – PSC Staff says meh.. not really. Duke Energy just signed a landmark NEM settlement with SUNRUN and VoteSolar in NC & SC Exports of solar energy only represent 0.01% of energy generated statewide. |
The 2.5 Minute Read…
Commissioners quickly engaged the presenters via Zoom providing clarity that the intention of the workshop was not to end net-metering or make changes.
To be clear, going into this workshop, the outlook was not looking good.
Commissioner Julie Brown opened with an important statement. More than 16,000 Floridians had sent in emails to the commission. She also stated while many of the emails were clearly form based, MANY of them were not, and that she and her office were reading them and responding.
One commissioner mentioned that he had been approached by friends and neighbors that had been considering rooftop solar and they expressed concern over the commission making changes to this important program.
The stakeholder engagement over the last few weeks on this issue was massive and it will continue. And it appears to have some level of influence.
Presenters from VoteSolar and SACE delivered data an parables of consumers going solar. These stories clearly had an effect as well as the numerous op-eds that had been published. The fact that solar consumers are not all Millionaires and Billionaire fat cats is a narrative that the commission has heard before but not with solid evidence.
FlaSEIA had the pleasure to present as well. We went on the offensive to describe our industry and our qualifications to deliver safe and reliable solar. We presented growth, our care for the customer and over 12,000 team members and of course the impacts that corona virus has had on our success. We informed the Commission as to the many headwinds we fight each day like permitting, HOA issues, wind code changes, the ITC being stepped down and of course, COVID.
This all counteracted the misleading “Energy Fairness” report which described our industry as a bunch of charlatans in runaway growth feeding on the poor manipulating a so-called government subsidy.
Presenters from the Office of Public Council expressed support for net-metering. Presented a basis for removing insurance on systems as large as 250kW which clearly extends beyond Tier 2.
It was no surprise that we heard the same old arguments from the TECO and FPL and to our surprise their rhetoric was quickly shut down by commissioners.
Duke Florida brought a totally different message about rooftop solar from a utility that the commission may not have been expecting. The night before the workshop, Duke Energy announced that in South Carolina and North Carolina they had reached a settlement agreement with stakeholders, specifically working with Vote Solar, SUNRUN, and SACE resulting in a long-term agreement to continue net-metering.
The overwhelming message was that when given the time. When given the opportunity to collaborate on policy, legislative and regulatory, there are no losers, only winners. A theme the Commission appeared to enjoy more than the traditional rock and mudslinging.
FlaSEIA has been on a mission over the last few years to be more collaborative with advocates like VoteSolar, Solar United Neighbors, SEIA, and utilities for the benefit of our industry and customers.
Yesterday was the beginning of a Sea Change in how Florida advocates, talks, and works with policy makers on solar.
There is an open forum for public comment through October 8th. We will continue to keep you updated on actions within the commission and possibly the legislature.
But for now, we live to fight another day.
Lastly, I cannot express enough…
If you are not a member of FlaSEIA – Join. If you are already a member, thank you, but please, upgrade if you can… but if you have revenues that exceed $3Million and are a well established solar contractor… please upgrade your membership if you are at the basic level.
Your voices are extremely important as we engage and reshape the industry association but your contributions are needed to continue to properly fund these very expensive engagement processes.
Thanks for all you do.