Why you should vote “No” on 1

Corey Givens

Dear Editor:

The deceptive Florida “smart” solar amendment, created by big money utility lobbyists, was created as a counter to Solar Choice, which intended to introduce our state to solar power in a free energy market. The Solar Choice measure fell short of the signatures needed to make it on the ballot.

If Amendment No. 1 was voted on and passed, here’s what would happen: Disguised as a constitutional right to own or lease solar—a right we already have— the amendment would permit local and state government to unfairly impose various fees and regulations on those who use solar preventing “consumers who do not choose to install solar” from subsidizing the “backup power and grid access to those who do.”

This is unbelievable. Florida’s big utility companies, such as Florida Power and Duke Energy protect their monopoly markers and limit customer-owned solar power.

The pitch also suggests that it will “protect consumer rights,” but truth remains, solar customers are already protected by state-authorized utility agreements, licensing guidelines, electrical codes, as well as local and state building regulations.

Amendment No. 1 paves the way for barriers that would penalize current and future solar customers. The high hopes and false promises of Amendment 1 were crafted to gain support for the amendment, not to grow the solar market in the Sunshine State.

If this deceptive initiative passes, Florida voters will never see the billions of dollars of investment capital that is funneling into solar projects nationwide, creating thousands upon thousands of jobs for those who need them.  Wouldn’t it be great to see solar co-ops come to Midtown? This would bring affordable green power to our very own community at little to no cost.

Now you might be asking yourself, why would Florida utility companies try to trick voters in this election? Because they think they are smart and they fail to realize that voters are smarter. They know that most folks still don’t completely understand the concept of solar power, and that solar photovoltaics is now the least-costly method of producing electricity — cheaper than natural gas, wind, hydro and even coal.

Solar electricity is currently being produced here in the U.S. and around the globe between three and five cents per kilowatt-hour. The solar energy market now employs 200,000 people in the United States.

Restrictions and unfair fees would make solar more expensive if this amendment were to pass. It would limit the expansion of solar and hurt consumers like you and I, by denying a cost effective way to lower power bills.

Independent polls show that any voters believe they are promoting solar energy by supporting this amendment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why should we pay for something that is rightfully our to begin with?

Stop utilities from having a monopoly on the sun: Vote “NO” on Amendment No. 1 on Election Day to eliminate unfair taxes on solar.

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