Net Metering comes to Florida

Good news for people who want to put a wind farm in their back yard. The Florida Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved rule changes for “net metering.” That’s when your electric meter rolls backward to reflect power you produce at home.

The commission expedited interconnection, expanded eligible power to any type of renewable instead of just solar photovoltaic systems, and increased the size of eligible systems from 2 kilowatts to 10 megawatts, enough to power more than 6,000 homes. If no comments or requests for hearing are received, the rule will be filed for adoption with the Secretary of State.

The rule changes allow people to come up with some innovative ways of producing power. For example, there's been some speculation that exercise equipment could generate power while in use, or large vacant properties could be turned into mini-solar arrays, or homeowners could start building their own windmills. Still, these mini power plants have to pass muster with the neighbors, as the New York Times noted in an article.

Local utilities Tampa Electric and Progress Energy have just a handful of interconnected customers now. It remains to be seen if the new rules will offer incentive enough to homeowners to offset the cost of solar systems or other types of power.

-Asjylyn Loder, Times staff writer