Orlando residents, officials raise concern over possible changes to solar energy metering

ORLANDO, Fla. — Some locals are expressing concerns that parts of a newly approved Orlando Utilities Commission plan could hurt incentives for people getting solar panels.

OUC just approved a plan to significantly reduce the use of coal to make electricity. They are starting with converting coal-fired plants to natural gas, but ultimately the goal is net-zero carbon emissions.

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People who have solar panels generate power during the day when the sun is shining and earn credits that they can use for electricity at night.

They’re worried OUC could get rid of that net metering option.

“OUC’s plan to do away with net metering will kill solar viability for people like us,” Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan said.

READ: OUC half marathon on Saturday is the first in-person race in Orlando since the pandemic began

Sheehan, who has solar panels, blasted OUC in Monday’s city commission meeting, saying it would discourage people from converting to the clean energy.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani sent a letter expressing similar concerns, stating, “These concerns make it clear that more public engagement is needed.”

READ: OUC announces plan to switch power plant from coal to natural gas

But a representative from OUC said net metering changes are not on the table in this plan. In fact, the company said, solar is a big part of the transition to clean energy. OUC said they would have to have separate meetings and a vote on that issue.

Stay tuned to Channel 9 Eyewitness News for updates.

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.