ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — If you put solar panels on your roof, your home insurance company could drop you.
Fewer insurance companies will even cover solar panels on homes in Florida. It’s happening more and more now. So what’s going on?
“Something is going on, it’s very strange, I can’t underscore how strange it is,” Heaven Campbell with Solar United Neighbors said.
Lately, when Floridians want to put solar panels on their home, some home insurance companies are saying goodbye and canceling the policies.
“Sometimes the homeowners only have 30 days to find replacements,” Rebecca Houpe of Ancient City Insurance said.
She’s seeing this over and over again in the last year or so.
In addition, some insurance companies that have covered solar panels in the past, are no longer writing new policies.
St. Augustine Insurance agent Doug Wiles is President of Herbie Wiles Insurance. He told First Coast News that insurance companies may be shying away from solar panels because of a clause in some Florida Power and Light contracts that says any damage caused by the panels, “you as a homeowner are responsible to pay for all of that damage.”
Often insurance companies will give an example such as a surge running through your panels that causes damage to the grid or other homes.
However, the theory that solar panels can cause damage like that is bogus according to state authorities, Campbell said.
“There are no cases of solar being a threat to the utility grid,” Campbell said.
In 2020, she says the “Public Service Commission told utilities to stop putting up insurance barriers specifically requiring high liability insurance.”
However, that liability is still being given as a reason for insurance companies not discontinue or not create home insurance policies if there are solar panels.
Home insurance companies are also denying coverage if the homeowner chooses to sell the extra power their panels make back to the electric company. The system is called net metering, and it’s a common practice for a homeowner with solar panels.
Campbell said the fact that insurance companies are denying coverage because of net-metering “which is a billing methodology” is odd.
She said this issue is happening in all over Florida, but not in the rest of the country.
So what’s keeping some insurance companies from covering solar panels? Is it political? Does it have something to do with the sway of electric companies?
“So far we don’t know where it’s coming from. I think it smells fishing,” Campbell said. “That’s something we are 100 percent investigating.”
For now, it means people who are interested in cleaner energy production are shying away from solar out of fear of losing their home insurance.