OrlandoPolitics.com
“JMI says “Floridians for Solar Choice” amendment would cost ratepayers $1.1 Billion”
By Frank Torres
December 16, 2015The James Madison Institute has released a brief that says there could be a shift of $1.1 billion dollars to ratepayers if the Floridians for Solar Choice constitutional energy amendment passes.The study uses data available from both the Florida Public Service Commission and the Solar Energy Industry Association among many others and reports feature an impact model built for both residential and commercial consumers. It found that in year three of implementation at a modest 8 percent solar market penetration rate a $740 million cost shift in residential and $381 million in commercial would take place.The report offers that in order to ensure that solar users don’t go without electricity in periods of prolonged lack of sun, existing energy providers are required by regulation to ensure 100 percent capacity in their area, even when a business or residence is partially or completely off the grid.“The language of the proposed amendment forbids Florida energy officials from having on-site solar providers or purchasers pay a proportionate fee for grid maintenance and capacity costs,” said policy brief author James Taylor, a senior fellow with JMI and the Heartland Institute. “This amounts to an additional subsidy, whereby all electricity consumers who do not generate or purchase on-site solar must pay the costs for those who do.”JMI also believes FSC effort stands to manipulate the Florida Constitution to create a monopoly for the solar industry that depends on special interest subsidies and special regulatory treatment to gain advantage over the competition, pinpoints the report. Reasoning that the amendment, if passed, effectively gives the solar industry an exclusive right to sell electricity outside of the current framework in the specific market segment, setting solar power companies up to function as a utility. While Florida energy officials have put in place rules designed to ensure utility transparency and consumer protections, the language of the FSC amendment forbids Florida state officials from giving consumers the same protections in regard to the solar power industry that they receive when purchasing power from utilities.“When you peel back the carefully crated language used to market this amendment, it is clear the Floridians for Solar Choice effort is seeking an end-run around market economics, “said Taylor. “Although the language of the amendment makes it seem like barriers do exist, currently the electricity market contains no government barriers against solar power. To the contrary, preferential subsidies, tax exemptions and market-share mandates benefit solar power at the expense of other renewable energy sources.”JMI continues that solar energy remains the most expensive form of energy production and taxpayers are already paying for over 300 government solar energy programs. The report concludes that the energy companies operate better when not restricted by the government.Floridians for Solar Choice is one of two dueling solar energy amendments pushing it’s way to 2016 ballots. A measure from Consumers for Smart Solar says the FSC amendment gives out of state companies an unregulated path to charging taxpayers to pay for their operation.Article: http://orlando-politics.com/2015/12/16/jmi-says-floridians-for-solar-choice-amendment-would-cost-ratepayers-1-1-billion/