[dropcap]V[/dropcap]oting has begun in Florida. From early voting at polling stations to absentee ballots you can now cast your ballot for the 2016 election. Among the candidates sits amendment one presenting the topic of solar power. Recently there have been some developments on what that bill really means and who is backing the bill.
The amendment was approved by the Florida Supreme Court, but concerns were previously raised about the wording. Justice Barbara Pariente called the phrasing, which will allow utilities to raise fees on solar costumers, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
The vice president at the Florida based public policy research organization: The James Madison Institute revealed that the industry aimed to mislead Florida voters into backing restrictions on the expansion of solar power, by masking Amendment one as a pro-solar amendment.
At the State Energy/Environment Leadership Summit, Vice President Sal Nuzzo was recorded stating that Amendment one was, “an incredibly savvy maneuver” and that it would “completely negate anything they (pro-solar) would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road…”
Amendment one is worded to “prevent homeowners or businesses from contracting with solar companies that can install solar for no upfront cost.”
Summarized best by Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone, “The rise of distributed solar power poses a triple threat to these monopoly gains. First: When homeowners install their own solar panels, it means the utilities build fewer power plants, and investors miss out on a chance to profit. Second: Solar homes buy less electricity from the grid; utilities lose out on recurring profits from power sales. Third: Under ‘net metering’ laws, most utilities have to pay rooftop solar producers for the excess power they feed onto the grid. In short, rooftop solar transforms a utility’s traditional consumers into business rivals.”
Through its wording, amendment one aims to keep utility companies in control of solar powered energy.