Environment Florida calls on Jacksonville utility to reinstate solar program

Media Contacts
Jennifer Rubiello

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Environment Florida called on the board of the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) to reinstate its key rooftop solar program today, known as net metering. The utility abruptly slashed the program last month while adopting plans to further invest in large scale solar projects.

“Citizens of Jacksonville want more opportunities to tap into clean, renewable solar energy on their rooftops, not less,” said Jennifer Rubiello, State Director with Environment Florida. “The recent actions of Jacksonville Electric Authority board to gut their rooftop solar program will only make it harder for everyday residents to take advantage of our most abundant and renewable natural resource — the sun.”

The JEA board will meet today, November 28th, at 12PM in the wake of a contentious decision on October 17 to alter the utility’s rooftop solar program, net metering, in which the board reduced credits for new rooftop solar customers by 70 percent. The program is the key driver of rooftop solar adoption in JEA service territory and in many states around the country.

While the board’s move was coupled with commitments to large scale solar projects, clean energy advocates including Environment Florida decried the last-minute move by JEA to slash the net metering program.

“We need to encourage all kinds of solar power here in Jacksonville, from rooftops of our homes, schools and businesses to larger solar plants,” said Rubiello. “The decision to throw up barriers to rooftop solar power flies in the face of the vast public support for this clean technology.”

Research by Environment Florida Research & Policy Center shows that efforts to rollback rooftop solar programs are not isolated to Jacksonville. Many electric utilities and fossil fuel special interests around the country have worked to stall the growth of solar power in recent years, led by industry groups like the Edison Electric Institute.

Studies also show that rooftop solar users provide net benefits to the electric grid and to society — more in line with the credits JEA provided to solar users before gutting the program.

“It’s clear that rooftop solar users deserve full and fair credit for the clean energy they produce,” said Rubiello. “Let’s right a wrong, and help Jacksonville families realize all of the benefits of going solar here in Florida.”