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In the latest example of power company monopolies dictating to homeowners what they can or cannot do on their own property, Florida Power & Light Company slapped down homeowners who had installed solar panels on their homes because they wanted to produce their own renewable energy at a fraction of the cost from their local energy provider. And to add insult to injury, FPL pressed the issue in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
It seems a law implemented by power company lobbying and big government forces prohibits Floridians who have solar panels from using them independently of their local energy provider. According to the Miami New Times, Floridians are required by law to connect their solar panel-powered homes to the standard electrical grid, and pointed out a section that mandates solar power systems be powered down along with the rest of the grid during an outage.
Powered down, you say? During an outage? I mean, isn't that why we install solar panels, in an attempt to produce independent power so as to be self-sufficient when the grid is at its weakest? I'm reminded of Groucho Marx's saying: "A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five."
The way this cockamamie law is written, solar customers are even required to install a disconnect switch that takes their panels off-grid while keeping the rest of the home attached; and when the the grid is down, they're prohibited from flipping that switch to power their homes. Which, you know, is kind of the point. Even crazier, FPL can come in and disconnect those panels anytime it wants, without notice to the homeowner, even placing a padlock on the panels, if necessary . . . on the homeowner's solar panels . . . on the homeowner's property . . . that's right.
So, in summary, if you live in Florida, you can't use solar unless you're connected to the grid, and when your area goes down and can't power your home, you can't use solar. Now I'm not an engineer, Heaven knows. But I've gotta believe there's a way for homeowners to have their solar and power batteries or some storage system of their own instead of being connected to the grid, and my hope for them is that they organize some counter-lobbying effort to speak up for private property rights against these utilities.
Dom De Bellis is an entrepreneur, author, public speaker, coach, and minister of the Gospel. When he's not serving his church or Boy Scout Troop, he is helping people in cities grow organic food.