Florida broadens market for rooftop solar with Sunrun leasing decision
- The Florida Public Service Commission on Friday issued a declaratory statement allowing residential solar leases in the state after determining that a 20-year draft agreement did not represent a retail sale of electricity.
- Regulators unanimously agreed that a draft lease submitted by Sunrun would not cause it to run afoul of the commission's rules, paving the way for the company to begin accepting orders in "the coming months."
- Sunrun began selling its systems last year, but asked regulators to clear up several issues before it began leasing. Sunrun says its leases will allow homeowners to install panels with no money down.
Sunrun already operates in Florida, but Friday's decision by the PSC will allow the company to offer more attractive terms and broaden the market for rooftop solar.
Third-party electricity sales are forbidden in the state, which hurt the company's ability to lease equipment. Leases have typically compose the majority of sales for solar companies, though more of them, like Sunrun, are shifting to loans as a way to bypass state laws or regulations regarding such transactions. Sunrun argued to the Florida regulators that the lease payments are fixed, not based on how much electricity the systems generate, reports Southease Energy News.
Regulators sided with Sunrun in a trio of findings, determining that a residential solar equipment lease "does not constitute a sale of electricity." Other findings ensure that offering leases will not cause Sunrun or its customers to be regulated as a utility.
Sunrun's gradual entry into the Florida market follows a series of policy decisions. Last year, lawmakers approved a measure to strike property taxes on solar panels installed at commercial and industrial facilities, following a ballot initiative that passed with overwhelming support in 2016. Voters also rejected a utility-backed ballot initiative designed to slow the growth of residential solar.
- Energy News Network Sunrun to bring solar leasing to Florida — if regulators agree to terms
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