Florida was one of the sour spots for solar in 2014. The Florida Public Service Commission voted to end the state’s rebates after 2015 in December. But it looks like the state might start taking better advantage of its moniker “Sunshine State” moniker in 2015 thanks to a petition launched by Floridans for Solar Choice and Conservatives for Energy Freedom for a 2016 ballot initiative.
When the state’s utility commission voted to end the the rebate program they called it costly and said that consumers were installing solar-energy systems even without claiming rebates, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The solar rebate system in Florida was flawed—people and companies could only apply for the rebates in a very short period of time. But the move was panned by solar and environmental advocates, like the Sierra Club, which condemned the actions, saying the commission bent to the will of large polluters.
The petition stated that: “It shall be the policy of the state to encourage and promote local small-scale solar-generated electricity production and to enhance the availability of solar power to customers. This section is intended to accomplish this purpose by limiting and preventing regulatory and economic barriers that discourage the supply of electricity generated from solar energy sources to customers who consume the electricity at the same or a contiguous property as the site of the solar electricity production.” The petition seeks to eliminate “regulatory and economic barriers.” It considers such barriers as rate, service and territory regulations imposed by governments as well as utilities.
The petition, which was approved in late December, would allow business or property owners in Florida to produce up to 2 megawatts of solar power and directly sell the electricity to others, without needing a utility. Currently only utilities can sell electricity to consumers in Florida, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
While the ballot was spurred by conservatives the newspaper reported that Democrats and environmental organizations are also interested in supporting the ballot initiative. The diverse group is slated to hold a press conference about the petition on Jan. 14.
If the petition is approved the ballot initiative would be on the 2016 ballot in Florida. If approved by voters it would go into effect on Jan. 3, 2017.
Here’s a link to the petition: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/initiatives/fulltext/pdf/64491-1.pdfTweet