Have you heard about the utility-backed Amendment 1? It’s awful for Florida’s environment and seriously threatens our chance for a clean energy future.
Amendment 1 is a slick, misleading, multi-million-dollar campaign sponsored by monopoly utility companies like Duke Energy and Florida Power and Light for one reason: to maintain their monopoly on electricity and unfairly limit customer-owned solar.
If Amendment 1 passes and becomes part of Florida’s constitution, it will:
- allow increased fees for customers who choose to install solar, making solar more expensive and limiting customers’ ability to produce their own energy;
- undermine Florida’s net metering rule, which currently allows people who install solar to sell their extra energy back to the grid — net metering is key to making solar more affordable for Florida families and businesses;
- increase our reliance on dirty fossil fuels;
- damage Florida’s small but growing solar market and keep Florida at the back of the line when it comes to creating more solar jobs.
The ballot language misleads voters into believing that Amendment 1 is a pro-solar initiative, but in reality, it only cements the status quo into our state constitution. In 2014, renewable energy sources like solar accounted for only 1.5% of Florida’s electricity, the Florida Public Service Commission projects that we’ll generate a mere 2% of electricity from renewable sources by 2024. [Public Service Commission, 2016 Facts & Figures of the Florida Utility Industry, March 2016] That is not a status quo we should preserve in our state constitution.
But on the bright side (pun intended), if Amendment 1 fails and solar is allowed to grow, Florida could be at the forefront of shaping the nation’s clean energy future. We have the potential to be among the top three solar-producing states in the country. Florida’s small but growing solar industry has already created 6,000 jobs, but cannot continue to grow in the shadow of Amendment 1.
In her opinion opposing the utility-backed Amendment 1, Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente explained why Amendment 1 does not help bring more solar to our state:
“Let the pro-solar energy consumers beware. Masquerading as a pro-solar energy initiative, this proposed constitutional amendment, supported by some of Florida’s major investor-owned electric utility companies, actually seeks to constitutionalize the status quo…favoring the very electric utilities who are the proponents of this amendment.”
Amendment 1 will require 60 percent of the vote to pass. In the coming weeks leading up to the election on November 8, millions more will be spent on sunny-sounding TV ads and mailers aimed at misleading voters. But don’t be fooled.
If you support solar, please tell your friends and family that the utility-backed Amendment 1 is bad for Florida’s environment and bad for our future.