Cheap solar gets a boost as solar advocates prepare to fight the other "solar" amendment

Floridians also want cheap solar.


It would reduce carbon emissions, lower power bills and, with more solar companies installing more systems, create jobs.

So it's easy to see why 72.61 percent of Floridians who voted in Tuesday's primary said yes to a proposal that would exempt solar panels from property taxes for homes and businesses.

“The passing of Amendment 4 is a testament to one of greatest grassroots efforts in the State of Florida for a Constitutional Amendment. The people of Florida have made their voice heard, they want solar in the Sunshine State,” said Shawn Foster of Sunrise Consulting Group, advisor to YesOn4 campaign, in a statement the campaign released Tuesday night.

It was a proposal that won support from everyone, from environmentalists (of course) to free-market capitalists who believe electric utilities have a stranglehold on the way electricity is produced and consumed.

“We are thrilled that the citizens of Florida have embraced Amendment 4, which will help to lower energy costs and create new jobs and business opportunities for solar and renewables in the great Sunshine State,” said Tory Perfetti, chairman of Floridians 4 Lower Energy Costs, a pro-business conservative, in a statement issued Tuesday night.

But now, they're setting their sights on November, when a different solar-related amendment will be on the ballot.

Backed by utilities and fossil fuel companies and pushed under the banner "Consumers for Smart Solar," Amendment 1 does not change state law. It simply reinforces what's already on the books as it relates to who can sell power to whom (large power companies -----> everyone else).

Voting for it will simply enshrine that policy into the state constitution even though it is already in state statute thanks to lawmakers.

Amendment 4 supporters worry that voters will see the word "solar" in the amendment title November 8 and assume the measure will help boost solar power consumption throughout the state, so they're poised to launch a vigorous anti-Amendment 1 campaign to educate voters throughout Florida.

“The citizens of Florida are to be congratulated for having seen the light,” Pamela Goodman, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, said in a statement. “Now voters must beware of the utility deception waiting for them on the November ballot with Amendment 1 and be prepared to Vote No On 1 to fully support solar expansion in Florida.”

After the November election, they plan on rekindling their efforts to get another truly pro-solar amendment on the ballot in 2018, one that would let people install panels on their homes and businesses and sell that power to others (instead of back to power companies at a rate the power company sets). Dubbed "Floridians for Solar Choice," it failed to get on the 2016 ballot, supporters say, because of Floridians for Smart Solar's pricey and aggressive effort to confuse voters by launching their competing, yet completely different Smart Solar initiative.

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