What is Energy Independence?
As you dive into your solar search, the phrase “gain energy independence” is a common slogan you’ll see slung out to the far corners of the internet. But what does that mean? Why does everyone tout this as one of the best aspects of going solar? How could energy independence manifest in your own life?
As you investigate “energy independence” online, you’ll be inundated with everything from what this means for the United States, where our fossil fuels come from and where they go, and a plethora of arguments on what the qualifiers are to claim true “energy independence.” One thing you might find lacking though is what this all means for you: an average energy consumer.
Most commonly you’ll find references to energy independence mentioned on a large scale, such as the entire nation being energy independent. This is typically described in terms of imports and exports, and there is usually a scale on how the nation adds up based on those numbers. The same is true for yourself, just on a micro-scale. If you can produce enough energy — from your energy system rather than energy doled out by a utility company — to cover your own consumption you’ve reached energy independence. If you can produce more than your consumption, then you’re able to give energy back to the grid to benefit your community. Even better, you may even be able to pocket some of those benefits. More money back and energy independence? That’s a double-win.
On a large scale, it can be challenging to clarify whether or not a country has reached energy independence, as there are a lot of factors to take into account. It’s much easier to understand, however, when you consider your own home and energy system.
When you break it down to your personal household, energy independence means you can create enough or sometimes even more energy than what you use, which will alleviate your dependency on the utility company.
When you’ve decided that you don’t want to pay an ever-increasing utility bill anymore, you can take back control and harness the energy yourself. Once you take the next step with solar and produce enough energy to offset your household usage — or even surpass it — you’ve reached energy independence.
How to Create Your Own Independence & All The Benefits
So now that you understand the insider lingo you may see floating around out there, let’s go one step further and show you exactly how you could accomplish energy independence. The easiest and most obtainable solution right now is to choose a solar energy system to soak up all those bright Florida rays.
We can go on about the environmental benefits of going solar in Florida, or how you’ll instantly save money. We could have a go at all the catchy one-liners to hype up the future of solar. But at Sun Badger Solar, we’re here to keep it straight with you. One of the biggest benefits of solar is that you are no longer in a chokehold with your utility company over your electricity costs. Once you go solar it doesn’t matter if they raise their rates every year (the national average is hovering around 4.5% year over year, yikes) because your usage is always covered. That means if your household is using on average 1,000 kWh per month, and your system is built to produce an average of 1,000kWh per month, it doesn’t matter if the utility company charges you $.12 or $.25 per kWh because your system is covering all of your production.
A quality solar system is uniquely built to your household’s or business’s specific usage. At Sun Badger, we ask the right questions, get your real data, and help you plan for future use. Have a pool? We’ll watch those consumption numbers. See an electric vehicle in your future? We’ll tell you what usage you could expect once you install a charging station at home. We also know all the details that pertain to net metering expectations. And we continuously stay on top of local and state-wide changes in governance around the solar industry. With Sun Badger, you’ll be in the know because we pride ourselves on our solar expertise.
Barriers to Energy Independence in Florida
So why are we all talking about creating this self-reliance for your energy so much when it comes to solar in Florida? We’re talking about the Sunshine State here, it’s right there in the name, yet most of Southwest Florida is controlled by a regulated monopoly when it comes to electricity. This means that Floridians have very little, if any, control over where you get your electricity and how much you have to pay for it. Florida also has the heavy hitter, Florida Power & Light, that has the resources and lobbying power to influence government policies pertaining to the solar industry. Specifically in this case: net metering with your solar production.
But hold on, what is this net metering thing?
Glad you asked, because it’s a pretty big deal when going solar in Florida. Unlike some other states, Florida does not currently offer any state-wide incentives like Illinois’ SREC program or Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy Credit that make going solar less expensive for you. But what Florida residents can take advantage of is net metering. Net metering allows you to sell back the unused energy from your solar array to the utility company. They compensate you at an agreed upon price per unit, and you collect the check. This is just an overview, so if you’d like to dig deeper into net metering we recommend using our Ultimate Guide to Solar. Above all, net metering is another way to bring down the cost of your system in lieu of state incentives.
Back to FPL, if you’ve been watching the news recently in Florida you may have heard about Governor DeSantis’ recent headline-making veto. Florida Power & Light was able to use its considerable interests and lobbying power to push for new legislation that would eliminate Floridian’s net metering ability, which would reduce the cost-saving avenues to going solar to the only Federal ITC. This would make the Sunshine State not so sun-friendly anymore, effectively dissuading Floridians from their own energy independence.
But if there’s one thing we know about the people of Florida, it’s that they don’t take kindly to someone who impedes their ability to provide. The people spoke, and the Governor responded accordingly, which effectively saved the industry of roof-top solar in Florida.
Florida’s Future Solar Forecast
No matter where politics takes us, or how often it changes, the fact is Florida itself has set some lofty solar goals for the near future, including FPL’s parent-company, NextEra and its plans for decarbonization.
84% of Floridians want to see solar thrive in Florida. For example, Florida already boasts the nation’s first solar-powered town, Babcock Ranch. Are you ready to be an early adopter and pave the way for what’s inevitably yet to come?
If you’re a homeowner or business owner considering solar in Florida, take the first step toward your own energy independence. Get a free solar panel quote.