Today (Oct. 22) the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing the Solar Choice Amendment to appear on the state ballot in 2016. The ballot choice will allow voters in the state to make an important decision and choice as to whether or not they should be allowed to install solar power on their homes. It’s the first of two potential solar-power ballots that could be on the state ballot in 2015.
“We are thrilled with the high court’s ruling so that voters may have the opportunity to vote on removing a barrier that currently blocks Florida’s families and businesses from greater energy choices through the power of the free market,” said Tory Perfetti, Chairman of Floridians for Solar Choice. “People power is what will get us on the ballot, and we continue to gather thousands of signatures each week from Floridians eager for Solar Choice.”
The initiative, supported by the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FLSEIA) as well as the national Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Floridians for Solar Choice, will allow residential solar power in the state to grow. It’s a sector that has languished in the state even as utilities have announced plans for large solar farms. SEIA went as far as celebrating the court for “being on the right side of history.”
Currently Florida is one of four states keeps its citizens and businesses from being able electricity from an entity other than a monopoly electric utility or government-owned electric utility. The amendment is aimed at changing that. However, another ballot initiative backed by Consumers for Smart Solar, the Smart Solar Amendment, also is competing for space on the ballot. That initiative is trying to paint this one as a shady solar amendment that would give outside companies control of consumers’ electric bills.
Florida now has 251 megawatts of solar electric generation installed—enough to power 29,000 homes, SEIA CEO Rhone Resch said. If voters approve the initiative next year he said: “Florida has the potential to quickly become a Top 5 solar state, while saving money for homeowners, businesses, schools, churches and local governments.”
“As an organization–and as an industry—we strongly support the efforts of Floridians for Solar Choice,” Resch said. “If this ballot initiative gains the voter approval it needs, solar development across the state will explode, creating thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new economic activity. But most importantly, this is about consumer choice. That’s why this initiative is being supported by groups as diverse as the Sierra Club, the Christian Coalition of America, the Florida Retail Federation and the Tea Party Network. These groups all recognize, like we do, that people have a fundamental right to choose their energy source and have a real say in what they pay for their electricity.”
The decision today clears the ballot petition to continue to gather the 683,149 required signatures. Already the Florida Division of Elections has confirmed more than 183,000 signatures. Another 100,000 are signed and awaiting verificatio, according to Floridians for Solar Choice.Tweet