In this week’s news round up, we discuss two important updates in local solar incentives.
Florida House and Senate pass bill to reduce net metering credits
The Florida state legislature recently passed a bill that would decrease the amount credited to solar owners for the electricity that they send back into the grid to a fraction of its current value. The bill also stipulates that the value of the credits will gradually decrease over time until it reaches the utility’s wholesale (aka avoided cost) rate in 2029 and it allows for increased grid access charges for solar owners by 2026. The phase out would start in 2024. House Bill (HB) 741 has faced broad opposition by supporters of the solar industry as well as bipartisan opposition in the Florida legislature.
Will Giese from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) gave the following comment regarding this bill:
This bill is a nightmare for anyone who believes in energy freedom and the rights of people to choose the energy that works for them and their families. Net metering has helped over 100,000 Florida homeowners make that choice, and utilities are now banking on the state government to strip those rights away and pad their monopoly hold on electricity. Florida has seen its solar industry grow to employ 11,000 people and generate over $10 billion in economic activity. States that enact bad legislation like this will see much of that business growth disappear, and we’re urging Governor Desantis to veto the bill and maintain Florida’s place as a national energy leader. This is a simple choice between helping the monopolies and helping the people.
To learn more about this bill, how it could impact you, and how to support net metering, check out this article.
SMART program extended in Massachusetts
In late 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Public utilities issued an order doubling the capacity of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program from 1,600 megawatts (MW) to 3,200 MW. This has allowed utility-scale projects pending approval to take advantage of the SMART incentives and has increased the program’s impact further in the future. The order comes after a decision by Massachusetts regulators in mid-2020 to expand the program’s capacity. The delay in issuing an order by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has raised some concerns among clean energy advocates over the DOER’s ability to quickly react to time sensitive requests to meet the state’s goal of a net zero energy sector by 2030.