Sunshine State senators on Tuesday advanced a utility-backed bill to restrict residents’ ability to install solar panels on their homes. The bill, which would alter net metering rates so as to make installing solar panels less financially viable for Florida residents, backed by Florida Power & Light (which wants to own all solar generation) and is sponsored by Republican State Sen. Jennifer Bradley (who received $10,000 PAC contribution from FPL’s parent company a month before she filed a bill nearly identical to text given to her by an FPL lobbyist).
The bill would ravage small businesses that install solar panels across the state and make it harder for residents to install systems that reduce their power bills, and, according to a December NAACP op-ed, disproportionately burdens communities of color and other historically excluded communities hurt first and worst by climate change. “I can tell you that with my 30 employees, I can see at least 70% of them being no longer employed with Tampa Bay Solar, because there just wouldn’t be a customer base,” Steve Rutherford, the founder and President of Tampa Bay Solar, told Bay News 9. (E&E News, Tampa Bay Times, Bay News 9, Miami Herald, Florida News Times, Florida Politics, Axios, WFTS; Commentary: Lake Wales News, Editorial Board)