Today, Florida residents are voting on a number of items including Constitutional Amendment 1, misleadingly titled "Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice." Although it gives the appearance of promoting solar energy, Amendment 1 is actually a deceptively worded attempt by big, investor-owned utility companies (including FPL and Duke Energy), masquerading under the banner of "Consumers for Smart Solar," to suppress the growth of solar energy in the Sunshine State and maintain the utilities' current monopoly in the state's energy markets.
While Amendment 1 purports to afford Floridians the right to install rooftop solar panels on their homes and businesses, that right already exists under Florida law. What is actually needed for solar energy to compete with and replace fossil-fuel generated energy is the installation of "net metering," a technique that will provide an incentive for rooftop solar power users to "sell back" rooftop-solar-generated power to the giant utilities.
The establishment of net metering would also encourage potential non-utility commercial suppliers of solar energy equipment to enter the solar energy equipment market, a development that would keep the pricing of such equipment affordable for both small and large solar power consumers. Because of the way Amendment 1 is worded, however, its passage will very likely preclude the establishment of net metering and instead encourage further use of climate change-inducing fossil fuels to generate electricity.
Of particular concern is language in Amendment 1 that promises to "ensure that consumers who do ...