THE SUNSHINE STATE SHOULD BE A NATIONAL LEADER IN SOLAR POWER
Florida is blessed to be the Sunshine State. We should put our blessing, the abundance of sunshine, to good use to power Florida homes and businesses. Solar will lower electric bills, create jobs, protect small businesses, and fight climate change and sea level rise. Solar technology is constantly improving, with lower costs and improved efficiency. Across America, millions have made the switch to solar. Yet, the Sunshine State lags way behind our solar capacity, a problem driven by a lack of leadership and foresight on solar policy. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, Florida should lead the way — both in solar policy and outcomes.
As governor, Charlie Crist will set a bold new goal for Florida, putting our state on a path to reach one million solar roofs.
To achieve one million solar roofs, Charlie will take an all-of-the-above approach, with solar solutions for All Floridians.
- Protecting and Enhancing Solar Incentives
- Fighting Legislative Attacks on Net Metering
- Creating Solar Renewable Energy Credits
- Supporting and Expanding Low-Cost Financing Options for Homeowners and Small Business Owners
- Creating “Solar for All” Low-Income Grants
- Allowing Third-Party Ownership
- Streamlining Permitting and Interconnection Standards
- Instituting a Renewable Portfolio Standard and Efficiency Standards
- Installing Solar on State Buildings
This is a jobs plan that will create and support tens of thousands of solar-related jobs in Florida, including manufacturing and installation.
HOW WE’LL GET SOLAR ON A MILLION FLORIDA ROOFS
Protecting and Enhancing Solar Incentives
- Incentives put solar within reach for more families and small businesses. For many, state policies like net metering were part of the financial calculation of going solar.
- When he was governor, Charlie directed the Florida Public Service Commission to develop a rule for rooftop solar that increased choice and market freedom by letting residents and business owners who generate their own extra power sell it back to the utility companies at a fair price. The Public Service Commission set the net metering rules two years later, but the utilities have been trying to kill it ever since.
- Once again, Tallahassee lawmakers, doing the bidding of big utilities, are trying to kill net metering and make solar power more expensive. As governor, Charlie would veto any attempts by the Legislature to turn back the clock on solar, including by repealing or weakening the current net metering rule.
- Charlie will institute Solar Renewable Energy Credits to put more money in Floridians’ pockets. Under his plan, if utilities are having trouble meeting their solar energy goals, they will be able to purchase credits from homeowners and businesses that generate solar power. This will make choosing to install solar more financially viable for more middle class families, and let everyday homeowners and businesses be part of the solution. In the eight states and Washington, D.C. that have a similar program, this is a proven way to encourage more solar and lower prices.
Supporting and Expanding Low-Cost Financing Options
- For homeowners and businesses that want to install solar panels, but lack the up-front cash to purchase the system outright, Charlie will build on proven, low-cost financing options like the non-profit Solar Energy Loan Fund.
- Under Charlie’s 1 Million Solar Roofs plan, the State of Florida will have skin in the game to lower interest rates and increase available capital.
- Between jobs, energy reliability, lowering power bills, improving air and water quality, and fighting climate change and sea level rise, the Sunshine State has a vested interest in more people going solar. And it’s time we start acting like it.
“Solar for All” Low-Income Grants
- Under Charlie’s 1 Million Solar Roofs plan, All Floridians will have the option to take advantage of the reliability and cost savings of going solar, including low-income homeowners and renters.
- Charlie’s “Solar for All” initiative will offer grants on a first-come, first-serve basis to low-income Floridians who can use state-certified installers to put solar on their roofs.
- “Solar for All” will put solar savings and reliability in reach for more seniors on a fixed-income, rural families, and even renters if their landlord agrees.
Allowing Third-Party Ownership
- As governor, Charlie will allow third-party ownership of rooftop solar, opening the door for families to realize solar savings and reliability without the cost of owning the system outright.
- By banning homeowners and businesses from directly purchasing power from solar companies that install solar panels on their roofs, Florida is in the minority of states, limiting our distributed solar capacity.
- Charlie will insist on strong consumer protections and oversee any third-party rooftop arrangements, including leases and power purchasing agreements.
- Bottom line: utility monopolies should not have a veto over how Floridians put solar power on their roofs.
Streamlining Permitting And Interconnection Standards
- Florida’s one million solar roofs need to be connected to the electric grid. Charlie will work to streamline the interconnection process to avoid delays and undue costs.
- Charlie will support efficient permitting and will strengthen laws preventing HOAs or condo boards from infringing on Floridians’ rights to install solar technology.
Instituting the Renewable Portfolio Standard and Efficiency Standards
- When he was governor, Charlie made Florida a national leader on climate change, clean energy, and energy efficiency. If elected, he’ll get the job done on a renewable portfolio standard to require all utilities in the state to meet increasingly ambitious renewable energy and solar goals.
- 31 states and the District of Columbia have renewable standards, and another seven have renewable goals. As Florida remains uniquely vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise, the Sunshine State cannot afford to keep its head in the sand on renewable energy.
- In 2021, Gov. DeSantis chose polluters over people — and further eroded local control — when he signed a law banning local governments from restricting the use of fossil fuels to produce electricity used in their communities. In contrast, Charlie will let local communities fight climate change, protect their environment and quality of life, and push for clean air and water.
- As governor, Charlie will restore energy efficiency goals for utilities.For energy efficiency performance and savings, Florida Power and Light, Duke Energy, and TECO rank near the bottom in the nation. Most states have long-term energy efficiency goals. Not Florida — because the utilities don’t want any goals at all. Charlie will demand that the Public Service Commission set robust energy conservation goals. When it comes to adding insulation, energy efficiency windows, and other improvements to save energy and lower power bills, Florida utilities should be part of the solution — not the problem.
Solar on State Buildings
- With Charlie as governor, the State of Florida will walk the walk to reach one million solar roofs, starting by installing panels on the Governor’s Mansion.
- He’ll issue an executive order to install solar panels on every possible state-owned building to meet energy needs.
- Charlie will support municipal buildings, schools, and other public buildings that want to install solar technology to save money, enhance reliability, and fight climate change.