With our abundance of warm Florida sunshine, rooftop solar in Martin County, Florida makes a ton of sense. When you install rooftop solar you will enter into an FPL program known as Net-Metering. How net-metering works is one of the most frequently asked questions I have heard in my 14 years in the solar industry.
The basics of net-metering are as follows:
1. You produce solar power on your rooftop
2. Your house will consume as much power is produced, and any extra power will be shipped to the grid and delivered to your neighbor’s house.
3. You will receive a credit on your bill for the amount of excess power delivered to the grid at the same rate you pay for power.
4. You will only receive a maximum credit amount equal to your maximum consumption in a given year. (In other words, you can’t sell back more than you buy from FPL in a given year.)
Now, some of you might be thinking “FPL is actually subsidizing my solar because I am using the power grid for free”, but the reality is much different. You see, when I produce excess power at 2pm on a given afternoon, my electrons don’t travel all the way back to the nuclear power plant and then turn around and become redistributed to others. Instead electrons, like water, flow to the nearest place of consumption. Which, in my case is my neighbors house. So, by producing power here on my block I am actually saving the utility company the need to produce power far away, creating a maximum efficiency for energy that would otherwise be lost through the power transmission lines.
We also have at least one fantastic bonus about living in Martin County when it comes to solar. I have been part of solar projects all over the state of Florida, and I can honestly say that our permitting process is one of the most efficient I have ever seen. When I submitted my paperwork online, I couldn’t believe the permit was reviewed and issued in less than a week.
Finally, one thing to make note of if you are thinking about solar on your home in Martin County is that net-metering is certainly not guaranteed forever. My personal belief is that FPL will make another run at doing away with net-metering starting possibly in 2021. Although we are all grateful for our utility company who does a great job at keeping the lights on, it is important to remember that they were one of the primary funders of the Amendment 1 campaign from the 2016 election, which purported to give homeowners the constitutional right to own solar on their home (a right they already have) and would have actually resulted in virtually eliminating net-metering as we know it. The good news is if you have solar before they change their policy, you are legally required to be grandfathered in. The bad news is if you wait too long to install solar, you could miss out on net-metering all together.