Over the last six months one of the frequent questions heard around our warehouse has been “Where’s Steve, up in Tallassee again?”
Our CEO and Founder, retired navy SEAL Steve Rutherford, drove 10 hours round trip to Tallahassee many times over the past year to meet with state policy makers to fight an anti-net metering bill that was slowly working through various state House and Senate committees. He was even featured in local news pieces following the progression of the bill and gathering solar company and consumer perspectives.
Sponsored by FPL (Florida Power & Light) this anti-solar bill was designed to limit net metering so that the rooftop solar would have a longer payback for the average homeowner. It would effectively lower the credit that power companies must provide rooftop solar customers in exchange for the additional power they send to the grid, reducing the incentives for homeowners to add rooftop solar systems.
FPL donated tens of thousands of dollars in political campaign donations for Republican lawmakers. The big electric utilities in Florida have deep pockets to fund political campaigns, influence lobbyists, and promote an anti-solar agenda.
The anti-solar bill was sponsored and supported by 98% of the Republicans in the state House and Senate, and the bill passed, until Governor DeSantis’s desk vetoed the bill in late April 2022.
This is mere speculation, but here at Tampa Bay Solar we suspect that Ron Desantis is taking a run for the White House in 2024, and he wants to show moderate voters that he supports “solar, green technology, and progress.” Whatever the reasoning, we’ll take it. It’s good news for solar companies like ours and Florida homeowners wanting to make the switch to solar power.
DeSantis’ veto changed everything. If the anti-solar bill had been passed into law, it would have threatened the jobs of 10,000 solar workers in Florida, made consumers less inclined to install solar panels, and possibly put many solar companies out of business.
Steve Rutherford invested his time and energy to personally fight this bill.
We’re glad that Governor Ron Desantis shut down a backward-thinking and regressive piece of legislation. His veto saved jobs and makes the solar business even stronger here in Florida.