Irma Victims Tried to Flip on Solar Panels, But Got Hit With Sick Law

By Ben Marquis on September 20, 2017 at 9:01pm

In recent years, as the technology becomes cheaper and more prevalent, an increasing number of people are installing solar panels on their homes in an effort to produce their own renewable energy at a fraction of the cost from their local energy provider.

Unfortunately for Florida residents, especially those who found themselves without power following Hurricane Irma, a law brought about by power company lobbying and big government control freaks prohibits Floridians equipped with solar panels from using them independently of their local energy provider, according to a scathing report by the Miami New Times.

That article delved deep into the aftermath of the hurricane, particularly the efforts of the monopolistic Florida Power and Light company to restore electricity to wide swathes of the southern half of the state. While it certainly gave an appreciative nod to the hard-working crews on the ground, it took a rather dim view of the company as a whole and their corporate leadership.

They decried what they viewed as the FPL’s many shortcomings in the restoration effort, a lack of dutiful preparation ahead of time and wasted opportunities over the years at improving the situation proactively and preventing widespread outages from occurring in the first place, even as they have raised rates to do as much.

The New Times noted that Floridians are required by law to connect their solar panel-powered homes to the standard electrical grid, and pointed to a section of FPL’s guidelines on “clean energy” that mandate solar power systems be powered down along with the rest of the grid during an outage.

Incredibly, even as solar customers are required to install a special disconnect switch that removes their panels from the grid while keeping the rest of the home attached, they are prohibited from independently flipping that switch to power their homes while the grid is down.

However, FPL reserves the right to come and disconnect those panels at anytime they see fit, even placing a padlock on it if necessary, without any warning ahead of time to customers.

That, along with several other hoops prospective solar panel owners must jump through, creates an incredible disincentive to consumers and essentially prohibits them from being self-reliant in terms of energy, which is kind of the main idea behind installing solar panels on a home in the first place.

Furthermore, FPL is thought to be heading up lobbying efforts to do away with the “net-metering” provision that allows solar customers to “sell” excess energy their panels have produced back to the power company, which would remove the sole remaining incentive for Floridians to undertake the expense of installing solar panels.

This is all pretty absurd, and one can only wonder how many victims of Irma were forced to endure uncomfortable conditions — perhaps even death in some case — during the prolonged outage when they were fully capable of powering up their homes themselves.

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