Amendment 1 constitutionally guarantees your Florida solar rights

Usually, the person with the most information makes better decisions. But when you rely on info that’s wrong, chances increase that your decisions are wrong.

So it is with Florida’s solar power ballot Amendment 1. Opponents are funneling misinformation into the discussion.

solarThe truth is that by voting for Amendment 1, Florida voters have a historic opportunity to advance solar power in the Sunshine State, at the same time ensuring that energy consumers are treated fairly; this includes those who choose solar and those who do not.

What does the amendment do? It constitutionally guarantees individuals and businesses the right to buy or lease solar equipment to produce their own energy; this means consumers will always have the right to generate their own solar electricity, and politicians cannot tamper with that right. Contrary to what opponents say, solar customers can still sell any excess electricity they generate back into the electric grid. More importantly, it protects Florida consumers from scams, rip-offs, overcharging and unfair subsidies. It treats all electricity consumers fairly.

Because it is renewable energy, a tax break is provided. This is because renewable solar energy aids in protecting the environment. If you choose not to install solar, you won’t be required to subsidize the costs of electric grid access and back-up power to those who do.

Another good point made by Florida TaxWatch is that, for Floridians who want the right to provide their own energy needs, “this amendment raises that right to Constitutional status, which strengthens that right, as it cannot be changed by state or local governments without going back to the voters.”

Something else you should know, since we are seeing political leftists like the League of Women Voters dishing out misinformation to welcoming publishers like The Palm Beach Post (which editorially calls Amendment 1 a “fraud”), is that this ballot initiative is being supported by a wide list of groups other than utility companies. These include bipartisan coalitions of business, civic, non-profit and faith-based organizations working to promote solar energy without sacrificing common sense consumer protection.

solarMany of those opposing Amendment 1 are companies that don’t want you to buy your own solar panels to generate your own electricity because they want you to buy solar electricity from them. Their business model is to lock consumers into 20-year contracts to put their solar equipment on your roof and sell you the electricity from it. And here’s the awful catch: The current published price for one of the leading companies, Solar City, is nearly 50% higher than what average Floridians pay for electricity today, plus its contract includes an automatic 2.9% cost increase—double what Floridians normally face. Something else these opponents fail to divulge is that they want a subsidy to operate their business model in Florida, a “stand-by charge” uniformly applied to every electric customer to ensure their model makes economic sense—for them. I do not believe that’s good for Floridians. Amendment 1 protects consumers from this type of subsidy.

The Amendment does not block ownership of solar, it does not make solar more expensive, and it certainly does not discourage people from installing solar on their homes. These are outright lies to pull the wool over your eyes.

Florida deserves a holistic approach to solar. Thankfully, Amendment 1 will provide a constitutional framework for solar in the Sunshine State, which will keep politicians and special interest groups from tampering with it.

John R. Smith

John R. Smith

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company.
John R. Smith

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