November 9, 2016 Read More →

Florida Voters Thwart Utility Industry’s Anti-Solar Ballot Initiative

Mary Ellen Klas for the Miami Herald:

Florida voters rejected Amendment 1 on Tuesday, the utility-backed measure to limit rooftop solar expansion, after a scrappy, grassroots campaign and last-minute revelations raised doubts about the proponents’ claims that their goal was to expand solar generation.

By 8:30 p.m. EST and with nearly three-quarters of precincts reporting, the vote was almost evenly split, falling short of the 60 percent needed for a state constitutional amendment to become law.

The amendment attempted to use the popularity of solar to embed new language into the Florida Constitution that could have been used as a legal barrier to raise fees on solar users and keep out companies that want to compete with the utilities to provide solar energy generation.

A bipartisan coalition of solar advocates that included dozens of solar manufacturers, tea party groups and environmental organizations formed Floridians for Solar Choice to oppose the measure. They blasted the utility companies’ approach and, within minutes after polls closed in North Florida, proclaimed it a “David v. Goliath” victory that “won against all odds.”

“We defeated one of the most egregious and underhanded attempts at voter manipulation in this state’s history,” said Tory Perfetti, chairman of Floridians for Solar Choice.

Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said the conflict served to alert voters to the broader issue of solar’s future in Florida.

“Sunshine State voters have spoken clearly: they want more solar friendly policies and the freedom to harness the sun’s power for the benefit of all Floridians and not just the monopoly utilities,” he said.

Florida voters say no to misleading solar amendment

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