Solar supporters fight back in Jacksonville

By Ben Delman on December 13, 2017
Solar supporters stand up for their solar rights at November’s JEA board meeting.

In October, the board of Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) unanimously approved a change in the way solar homeowners are credited for the electricity their systems produce. Under their plan, solar customers would receive 70% less credit for the solar electricity they produce.

That would mean less bill savings and a longer payback period for every single Jacksonville resident who goes solar. JEAs short-sighted decision was made at the last minute behind closed doors with little input from the public and little apparent data or substantiation. It poses a significant threat to our ability to go solar and benefit from our solar production. It’s nothing short of an attack on our solar rights.

Fortunately, hundreds of Jacksonville solar supporters decided to act, contacting JEA to express opposition to the utility’s decision to limit our rights to go solar. This action is working. At the JEA’s November board meeting, Board Chair Alan Howard indicated a willingness to revisit JEA’s action.

Solar energy provides more value than just electricity. All utility customers benefit from having distributed solar generation. It reduces the need for expensive transmission infrastructure because the electricity is generated close to the source of energy demand. Solar energy provides low-cost electricity during the day. This is when demand and prices for electricity are highest. This saves all customers money. What’s more, rooftop solar creates local jobs that provide significant tax income for the city of Jacksonville.