ORLANDO, Fla. – A controversial bill that would let utility companies limit how much solar customers could sell their excess energy back for has been vetoed.
Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed HB 741, the net metering bill, on Wednesday, prompting a sigh of relief to some solar customers who feared their bills may be going up.
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“Given that the United States is experiencing its worst inflation in 40 years and that consumers have seen steep increases in the price of gas and groceries, as well as escalating bills, the state of Florida should not contribute to the financial crunch that our citizens are experiencing,” DeSantis wrote in the veto letter.
With solar panels, customers lower their energy bills and can sell excess solar energy back to utility companies, a process called net metering.
Scott Weinstein told News 6 in February that he likes the fact that he can sell the excess energy his Winter Garden solar panels create back to Duke Energy.
He said he was concerned, however, that barriers like the net metering legislation might be bad news.
“We’re actually talking to friends who were thinking of going solar, and now, they’re all laying back and saying, ‘why should we?’” he said. “They’re afraid of what’s going to happen.”
The bill, which was proposed by Florida Power and Light and passed by the Republican-majority legislature, would over time reduce the amount of money solar customers could sell that energy back for, which would result in higher bills for solar energy customers.
Since 2016, the number of Florida households installing solar panels has gone up 467%, totaling more than 90,000 households.
Two weeks after we spoke to Weinstein, both houses of Florida’s legislature approved the bill.
DeSantis’ veto came shortly after the release of a new Mason-Dixon poll, which showed a majority of Floridians supported the growth of solar energy and net metering.
In Central Florida, 87% of those polled said they support Florida’s net metering system.
When asked if they would be more or less likely to re-elect a lawmaker who voted to raise the cost for customers to install solar panels, 45% of Central Floridians said they would be less likely to re-elect that person, while 34% said it would have no effect.
FPL released the following statement after DeSantis vetoed the bill:
Read the governor’s veto letter below: